Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Findings suggests that blocking estrogen may be crucial to lung cancer survival

15.02.2005


New and effective treatments for lung cancer may rest on their ability to hinder the action of estrogen in lung cancer cells, according to two studies published in the current issue of Cancer Research. The University of Pittsburgh studies build on current knowledge about the relationship between estrogen and lung cancer growth and suggest that blocking estrogen may be vitally important to improving survival from the disease.



Since 1930, a 600 percent increase in death rates from lung cancer has been reported in women in the United States, leading some experts to suggest that women may be more susceptible to lung cancer than men. The current research contends that this could be due to the effects of estrogen on the lungs.

"Our studies continue to show that lung cancer cells grow in response to estrogen and that stopping or slowing the spread of the disease may be dependent on blocking the action of estrogen," said Jill Siegfried, Ph.D., professor, department of pharmacology and co-leader, Lung and Thoracic Malignancies Program, University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute. "In fact, in previous studies, we have observed that lung tumor cells contain estrogen receptors at levels comparable to breast cancer cells." A receptor is a structure on the surface of a cell that selectively receives and binds substances.


In the first study, Laura Stabile, Ph.D., instructor in the department of pharmacology at the University of Pittsburgh, and colleagues examined methods to block the action of estrogen in human lung tumors grafted in mice. They compared the effect of blocking the estrogen receptor (ER) pathway alone to blocking it in combination with another receptor pathway – the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). The investigators combined an agent approved for inhibiting the EGFR pathway, gefitinib (Iressa®), with an anti-estrogen agent, fulvestrant (Faslodex®) – a treatment commonly used to manage breast cancer in women with ER positive tumors, but not yet approved for clinical lung cancer treatment. They found that the combined treatment resulted in a tumor volume decrease of 59 percent, compared to a 49 percent decrease for gefitinib treatment alone and a 32 percent decrease for fulvestrant treatment alone. They also found that lung tumors in the combined treatment group were comprised mainly of dead and dying cells, while the number of these cells in the single treatment groups was significantly lower. The study suggests that an interaction between treatments that target both ER and EGFR may enhance the anti-tumor effects of therapy over the use of each agent alone. A pilot clinical trial is already underway testing the combination therapy in women with advanced lung cancer.

"Evidence from our study confirms what has been described for breast cancer – that blocking the estrogen receptor and the epidermal growth factor receptor pathways together is more effective," said Dr. Stabile.

In the second study, Pamela Hershberger, Ph.D., assistant professor in the department of pharmacology at the University of Pittsburgh, examined the effect of estrogen on the expression of genes in lung cancer cells. Using gene arrays, Dr. Hershberger and colleagues reported that some of the same growth genes induced by estrogen in breast cancer also are regulated by estrogen in lung cancer. In addition, the same estrogen inhibitor, fulvestrant, that was active against lung cancer in Dr. Stabile’s study also blocked the ability of estrogen to regulate lung cancer cell gene expression. Dr. Hershberger’s study further showed that other proteins needed for ER to act in breast cancer are found in lung cancer cells.

"Both of these studies clearly suggest that lung cancer cells respond to estrogen and that improving overall patient survival may be contingent upon identifying therapies that target specific pathways and put a halt to estrogen signaling," said Dr. Siegfried.

The studies were funded by a Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE) award in lung cancer from the National Cancer Institute to the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute.

Co-investigators on the first study include Jennifer S. Lyker, Christopher T. Gubish, Weiping Zhang, Ph.D., Jennifer R. Grandis, M.D., and Dr. Siegfried. Co-investigators on the second study include Mark Nichols, Ph.D., A. Cecilia Vasquez, Beatriz Kanterewicz, Stephanie Land, Ph.D., and Dr. Siegfried.

Clare Collins | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.upmc.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Flexibility and arrangement - the interaction of ribonucleic acid and water
24.01.2018 | Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V.

nachricht Rutgers scientists discover 'Legos of life'
23.01.2018 | Rutgers University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Optical Nanoscope Allows Imaging of Quantum Dots

Physicists have developed a technique based on optical microscopy that can be used to create images of atoms on the nanoscale. In particular, the new method allows the imaging of quantum dots in a semiconductor chip. Together with colleagues from the University of Bochum, scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute reported the findings in the journal Nature Photonics.

Microscopes allow us to see structures that are otherwise invisible to the human eye. However, conventional optical microscopes cannot be used to image...

Im Focus: Artificial agent designs quantum experiments

On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.

We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Rutgers scientists discover 'Legos of life'

23.01.2018 | Life Sciences

Seabed mining could destroy ecosystems

23.01.2018 | Earth Sciences

Transportable laser

23.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>