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

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Patented nanostructure for solar cells: Rough optics, smooth surface

Thin-film solar cells made of crystalline silicon are inexpensive and achieve efficiencies of a good 14 percent. However, they could do even better if their shiny surfaces reflected less light. A team led by Prof. Christiane Becker from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) has now patented a sophisticated new solution to this problem.

"It is not enough simply to bring more light into the cell," says Christiane Becker. Such surface structures can even ultimately reduce the efficiency by...

Im Focus: New soft coral species discovered in Panama

A study in the journal Bulletin of Marine Science describes a new, blood-red species of octocoral found in Panama. The species in the genus Thesea was discovered in the threatened low-light reef environment on Hannibal Bank, 60 kilometers off mainland Pacific Panama, by researchers at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama (STRI) and the Centro de Investigación en Ciencias del Mar y Limnología (CIMAR) at the University of Costa Rica.

Scientists established the new species, Thesea dalioi, by comparing its physical traits, such as branch thickness and the bright red colony color, with the...

Im Focus: New devices based on rust could reduce excess heat in computers

Physicists explore long-distance information transmission in antiferromagnetic iron oxide

Scientists have succeeded in observing the first long-distance transfer of information in a magnetic group of materials known as antiferromagnets.

Im Focus: Finding Nemo's genes

An international team of researchers has mapped Nemo's genome

An international team of researchers has mapped Nemo's genome, providing the research community with an invaluable resource to decode the response of fish to...

Im Focus: Graphene enables clock rates in the terahertz range

Graphene is considered a promising candidate for the nanoelectronics of the future. In theory, it should allow clock rates up to a thousand times faster than today’s silicon-based electronics. Scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) and the University of Duisburg-Essen (UDE), in cooperation with the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P), have now shown for the first time that graphene can actually convert electronic signals with frequencies in the gigahertz range – which correspond to today’s clock rates – extremely efficiently into signals with several times higher frequency. The researchers present their results in the scientific journal “Nature”.

Graphene – an ultrathin material consisting of a single layer of interlinked carbon atoms – is considered a promising candidate for the nanoelectronics of the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

One of the world’s most prominent strategic forums for global health held in Berlin in October 2018

03.09.2018 | Event News

4th Intelligent Materials - European Symposium on Intelligent Materials

27.08.2018 | Event News

LaserForum 2018 deals with 3D production of components

17.08.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Making better use of enzymes: a new research project at Jacobs University

19.09.2018 | Life Sciences

Light provides spin

19.09.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Enjoying virtual-reality-entertainment without headache or motion sickness

19.09.2018 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>