HRB funded researchers in Trinity College Dublin have discovered that blocking a particular stress response can significantly reduce the metastasis (or spread) of breast cancer.
The research published today (1 June) in the Journal of Clinical Oncology by Dr Ian Barron, a HRB Postdoctoral Fellow in Pharmacology and Therapeutics* at Trinity College Dublin looked at women diagnosed with breast cancer in Ireland between 2000 and 2007. Using data from the National Cancer Registry, and the HSE Primary Care Reimbursement Services, they found that those taking drugs that blocked a particular hormone related stress pathway had a much lower risk of dying from their cancer.
According to Dr Barron, “For patients with cancer, higher levels of stress are associated with more frequent disease recurrence, faster disease progression and higher rates of death from cancer. Some lab based studies have suggested how stress hormones such as adrenaline and noradrenaline, could play a role in this process. Ours is the first study in humans to show that blocking this stress response significantly reduces the risk of cancer spreading or metastasising. Because the majority of all cancer deaths are due to the growth of tumour metastases, this research could have significant implications for clinical practice.”
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