Tuesday, September 15, 2009


Metformin is the generic name of a diabetic drug formerly marketted as Glucophage. It had been noticed that patients who had cancer while on this drug had less recurrences than patients not on the drug. It is now in clinical trials as an add-on with traditional chemotherapy for breast cancer. Some cancers arise from cancer stem cells (discovered at UM) and these are very resistant to chemo but metformin seems to starve them by altering the glucose levels they seem to be dependent on. A little bit of hope there. This was in today's Wallstreet Journal.

Also in the popular press (Newsweek this time) was on how how some hormone disrupters such as the bisphenols found in plastic bottles and even an ingredient in soy (gentisen?) cause cells in developing fetuses to become fat cells leading to fat babies and adults. We as adults now weren't exposed to these substances but lots of young kids were with bad results. Don't feed soy milk to babies the article concluded.

In the scientific press from the research institute that my son-in-law works for (Broad Inst), I found an article that addresses how estrogen can lead to estrogen negative breast cancer. Young women are at a greater risk for breast cancer in the year following pregnancy as their breast tissue was stimulated quite a bit by hormones so that they could nurse. But what kind of BC do they get? Not estrogen dependent as you may have guessed but estrogen negative. If you are interested, here's the abstract:

Contributions of estrogen to ER-negative breast tumor growth

References and further reading may be available for this article. To view references and further reading you must purchase this article.
Piyush B. Gupta
a, 1, and Charlotte Kuperwasserb, ,
aBroad Institute of MIT & Harvard, 7 Cambridge Center, Cambridge, MA 02142, United States
bDepartment of Anatomy & Cell Biology, Tufts University School of Medicine, MORI, Tufts-New England Medical Center, 136 Harrison Avenue, Boston, MA 02111-1800, United States
Available online 16 October 2006.

Breast cancer is a hormone-based disease with numerous factors contributing to the lifetime risk of developing the disease. While breast cancer risk is reduced by nearly 50% after one full term pregnancy, women over the age of 25 have a significantly greater risk of developing breast cancer immediately following parturition compared to their nulliparous counterparts. It is widely presumed that the increased risk of developing breast cancer following pregnancy is due to the ability of pregnancy-associated hormones to promote the further proliferation of an initiated target cell population. It is surprising however, that the majority of breast cancers that develop following pregnancy lack appreciable expression of either the estrogen or progesterone receptors. This important observation suggests that if hormones play a part in promoting breast cancer following pregnancy, they may not be doing so through direct binding to hormone receptor molecules expressed by breast cancer cells.
To reconcile this conceptual conflict we investigated the hypothesis that steroid hormones promote the outgrowth of ER-negative cancers by influencing host cell types distinct from the breast epithelium itself. We demonstrated that increasing the levels of circulating estrogens is sufficient to promote the formation and progression of ER-negative cancers while, pharmacologically inhibiting estrogen synthesis following pregnancy prevents ER-negative tumor formation. Moreover, we demonstrate that the effects of estrogen act via a systemic increase in host angiogenesis, in part through increased mobilization and recruitment of bone marrow stromal derived cells into sites of angiogenesis and to a growing tumor mass. Taken together, these data suggest that estrogen may promote the growth of ER-negative cancers by acting on cells distinct from the cancer cells to stimulate angiogenesis.

So maybe that Prem-pro did lead to my TNBC.

My little grandson is 4 weeks old today. He now has a social smile even though he lost his foreskin last week. How time flies! A nice running day too.

1 comment:

Medical Information said...

Recently it has been found that diabetes drug metformin can also treat breast cancer. Those diabetics consuming metformin are less prone to getting cancer. It has the potential to destroy breast cancer stem cells. Metformin and chemotherapy had an amazing synergy with each other. For more details on it, refer Metformin


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