According to a new latest research, stress can further add fuel to the fire in cancer patients. It does not only increase the risk of spreading the cancer cells but also makes it difficult to treat. Breast cancer is one of the most common types of cancer diagnosed among women.
In the United States, there were around 266,120 new cases in 2018, as per the National Cancer Institute.
Despite the fact that breast cancer can be easily treated it is one of the challenging tasks if it starts developing, spreading and diversifying at a faster rate. The diversification of the cancer cells makes treatment difficult for the doctors as one treatment may work for one tumor but not for others.
According to a past research long term chronic stress is one of the major factors of cancer cell growth in breast cancers.
Another recent research led by a group from the University of Basel and the University Hospital of Basel in Switzerland has revealed additional proof to propose that stress can fuel the spread of breast cancer tumors, as well as their diversification.
The investigation — which the group did in a mouse model — found that stress hormones bolster breast cancer metastasis. The researchers also found that the derivatives of stress hormone present in certain anti-inflammatory medicines could disarm chemotherapy agents.
The study author Prof. Mohamed Bentires-Alj and other team members clarify their discoveries in another investigation paper that is published in the journal Nature.
“Intra-patient tumor heterogeneity is an obstacle to treatment,” they note, “as it causes divergence in diagnostic markers between primary tumors and matched metastases that may lead to inadequate treatment.” They state that there is a need to find a solution to this mismatch.
The intricate mechanisms at play
Prof. Bentires-Alj and group worked with a mouse model of breast cancer. They began by considering the differences between the original and the metastatic tumors by reaching specific gene activity.
The analysts note that in metastatic tumors, a kind of receptor called “glucocorticoid receptors” was exceptionally active. These receptors tie to the stress hormones, including cortisol.
Likewise, the group found that mice with metastases had larger amounts of cortisol and another stress hormone, corticosterone, as compared to the rodents in which cancer had not yet started to spread.
The specialists additionally saw that when these stress hormones are present, they actuate glucocorticoid receptors. This receptor triggers the spread of cancer cells’ and their diversification.
Moreover, Prof. Bentires-Alj and partners saw that glucocorticoid receptors associate with synthetic derivatives of cortisol — for instance, dexamethasone — which specialists use as against inflammatories to address some chemotherapy’s manifestations.
This association, be that as it may, appears to interfere with some chemotherapeutic agents, as a neutralizing their effects. The same thing occurs with the chemotherapy drug paclitaxel, for example; it turns out to be less compelling within the sight of dexamethasone.
In light of these outcomes, the researchers recommend doctors to caution in prescribing glucocorticoid hormones for the treatment of breast cancer, if it starts doing more harm than good.
Prof. Bentires-Alj and group likewise clarify that by a similar token, restraining glucocorticoid receptors could be a useful new methodology in breast cancer treatment. “Tumor heterogeneity is a serious hurdle for therapy,” explains Prof. Bentires-Alj.
“These findings highlight the importance of stress management in patients — and especially those with triple-negative breast cancer. Moderate exercise and relaxation techniques have been shown to correlate with enhanced quality of life and greater survival in patients, says Prof. Mohamed Bentires-Alj.