Hormone Replacement Linked to Cancer

AURORA, Colo., Oct. 22 (UPI) — Estrogen replacement therapy may spur ovarian cancer growth, U.S. researchers say.

Researchers at the University of Colorado Cancer Center in Aurora found estrogen caused ovarian cancer to not only grow five times faster in mice modeling estrogen receptor positive or ER+ ovarian cancer, but significantly increased the likelihood of the cancer spreading to the lymph nodes.

The study, published in Cancer Research, also found the estrogen-regulated genes in ovarian cancer reacted differently than ER+ genes found in breast cancer.

“Breast cancer and ovarian cancer are often linked when talking about hormone replacement therapy, but we found that only 10 percent of the ER+ genes overlapped,” Dr. MoniqueSpillman, the study leader, said in a statement.

“We were able to identify estrogen-regulated genes specific to ER+ ovarian cancer that are not shared with ER+ breast cancers. We believe these genes can be specifically targeted with new anti-estrogen therapies that could more effectively treat ER+ ovarian cancers.”

Spillman and her team measured ovarian cancer growth in the abdomen of mice using a novel techniques for visualizing the cancer. The cancer cells in mice with ER+ ovarian cancer could be tracked because they were tagged with a firefly-like fluorescent protein.

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