Current Month 2011
Article Features
  African-American Women Receive Less Breast Reconstruction After Mastectomy
Breast Conserving Therapy Shows Survival Benefit Compared to Mastectomy in Early-Stage Patients
Cancer Cells Adapt Energy Needs to Spread Illness to Other Organs
Disparities Persist in Early-Stage Breast Cancer Treatment
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Monitoring the Response of Bone Metastases to Treatment Using MRI and PET
Most Breast Cancer Patients Who Had Healthy Breast Removed at Peace with Decision
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New Study Identifies Opportunities To Reduce Patient Burden Associated With Breast Cancer Screening
Novel Immunotherapy Vaccine Decreases Recurrence in HER2-Positive Breast Cancer Patients
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Patient-Reported Data Shows Radiation Therapy Does Not Increase Risk of Lymphedema in Node-Negative Breast Cancer Patients
"Prepped" by Tumor Cells, Lymphatic Cells Encourage Breast Cancer Cells to Spread
Research Discovers Means to Free Immune System to Destroy Cancer
Research Finds No Association Between Wearing a Bra and Breast Cancer
Researchers Create "Evolved" Protein That May Stop Cancer From Spreading
Researchers Find New Genetic Target for a Different Kind of Cancer Drug
Scientists Discover New Role for Estrogen in the Pathology of Breast Cancer
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Study Adds to Cancer-Fighting Promise of Combined Immunotherapy-Radiation Treatment
Study Finds Genetic Mutations Linked with Ethnic Disparities in Cancer
Study Reveals Breast Surgery as a Definitive and Safe Treatment for Elderly Patients
The Fine Line Between Breast Cancer and Normal Tissue
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Trial Shows Trastuzumab Should Remain as Standard of Care for HER2-Positive Breast Cancer


Scientists Discover New Role for Estrogen in the Pathology of Breast Cancer

Scientists have discovered a previously unknown mechanism by which estrogen prepares cells to divide, grow and, in the case of estrogen-positive breast cancers, resist cancer drugs. The researchers say the work reveals new targets for breast cancer therapy and will help doctors predict which patients need the most aggressive treatment.

The University of Illinois team reports its findings in the journal Oncogene.

Estrogen pre-activates the unfolded-protein response (UPR), a pathway that normally protects cells from stress, the researchers report. The UPR spurs the production of molecular chaperones that prepare cells to divide and grow. Without chaperone proteins to do the work of folding and packaging other proteins, cells including cancer cells cannot divide. For this reason, chaperones are a popular target for new cancer therapies.

Activation of the UPR is known as a normal response to stress when a cell lacks adequate oxygen or nutrients, for example, or is exposed to cancer-killing drugs. UPR activation prepares the cell for major changes associated with cell growth, division and survival under stress.

It wasn't known before this study, however, that estrogen initiates this pathway before such stresses appear, said University of Illinois biochemistry professor David Shapiro, who led the new analysis with lead author, M.D.-Ph.D.-student Neal Andruska.

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