Research Says Progestin May Create Breast Cancer Cells

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New findings suggest that progestin (both natural and synthetic) may have something to do with breast cancer cell creation. Especially in breast cancer cells that act similarly to stem cells. The research study, published in Breast Cancer - Targets and Therapy, considered hormone replacement therapies and their long-term effects.

The results could help scientists target a rare type of breast cancer that is difficult to treat and that often metastasize to other parts of the body.

Previous studies have shown that hormone replacement therapies could increase breast cancer risks.

This new study found a closer link to progestin for those risks, especially with the stem-like cells found in some breast cancers.

“In previous studies, we have shown that both natural and synthetic progestins accelerate the development of breast cancer and increase their metastasis to lymph nodes,” said Salman Hyder, PhD and lead author for the study.

Researchers used hormone-responsive breast cancer cells to determine the impact of progestin on cell markers. They found that both natural and synthetic progestin increased a certain protein, CD44, which is involved in cell proliferation, communication, and migration. All characteristics of aggressive cancer.

Further studies are needed, the authors note, but they are optimistic about their findings. The stem-like cells triggered by the progestin were a good indicator of the study's hypothesis. The findings also suggest that women taking progestin may be at an increased risk of this more aggressive type of breast cancer.

“These cells greatly increase the likelihood of resistance to therapies and the risk for metastasis,” Dr Hyder concluded. “Our findings also suggest that clinicians may be able to combat the progestin-dependent tumor growth through immunotherapy.”



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