Current Month 2008
Article Features
  Outreach Initiatives Lead to Shift in Stage of Breast Cancer Diagnosis in African-American Women
Antibody to Breast Cancer-Secreted Protein Blocks Metastasis
Breast Asymmetry After Cancer Treatment Affects Quality of Life
Breast Self-Exam Must Be Accompanied by Clinical Breast Exam, Mammogram
Without Protection of CHFR Gene, Breast Cells Can Become Cancerous
New Approach to Cancer: Find Most Tightly Controlled Genes
Higher Education Associated with Mortality Reduction in Common Cancers
98 Percent of Elective Mastectomy Patients Would Have Reconstruction Again
Team Discovers New Inhibitors of Estrogen-dependent Breast Cancer Cells
Cancer Researchers Call for Ethnicity to be Taken Into Account
Understanding HER2 Gene’s Role in Breast Cancer Spread
Overweight, Insulin Resistant Women at Greater Risk of Advanced Breast Cancer
Laser Surgery Probe Targets Individual Cancer Cells
Low Socioeconomic Status Increases Risk of Death after Cancer Diagnosis
Researchers Identify Five Genes Involved in Breast Cancer Metastasis to Lung
Treatment Delays Result in Poor Outcomes for Men with Breast Cancer
New Ovarian Stimulation Technique Offers More Cancer Patients the Chance to Preserve Their Fertility
New Advances in PET/CT Scans Will Lead to More Targeted Treatment Options
New Cancer Treatment Targets Both Tumor Cells and Blood Vessels
Researchers Identify Cancer Preventive Properties in Common Vitamin Supplement
Transplanting Healthy White Blood Cells to Fight Cancerous Tumors
Young Women’s Breast Cancers Have More Aggressive Genes

Vitamin A May Push Breast Cancer to Form Blood Vessel Cells

Researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center have discovered that vitamin A, when applied to breast cancer cells, turns on genes that can push stem cells embedded in a tumor to morph into endothelial cells. These cells can then build blood vessels to link up to the body's blood supply, promoting further tumor growth.

They say their findings, published in the journal PLoS ONE, are a proof of principle of the new - and controversial - "vasculogenic mimicry" theory, proposing that, as needed, tumors build their own blood pipelines. This is very different from the well-accepted role of tumor angiogenesis, when tumors send signals to blood vessels to grow toward the cancer.

The study's senior author, Stephen W. Byers, Ph.D., a professor of oncology and cell biology at Georgetown's Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, also says that this study helps explain why retinoids - natural or synthetic vitamin A agents - have had mixed results in treating cancer. "Finding that vitamin A may cause some breast cancer cells to form blood vessels brings up the rather disturbing notion that treatment with these drugs may actually stimulate tumor growth," says Byers.

For example, use of beta-carotene, the most important dietary precursor of vitamin A and the chemical that makes carrots orange, has been found to increase lung cancer progression in a large clinical trial. Additionally, fenretinide, a synthetic retinoid, appears to reduce the risk of second breast cancers in premenopausal women, but increase the risk in postmenopausal women, Byers says.

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