A new study suggests that progesterone might be added to the treatment program of breast cancer patients. The findings have been published in the journal Nature.
Scientists observed in the past that patients whose tumours bore progesterone receptors had a certain advantage. This occurrence was not completely understood until now as the researchers of the new study have revealed the role of the progesterone: its receptors are said to interact with the oestrogen (a female hormone that might fuel the tumours) receptors found in breast cancer cells.
This “communication” causes the latter to change their behaviour such that the tumour growth is slowed down.
“We have used cutting-edge technology to tease out the crucial role that progesterone receptors play in breast cancer – a mystery that has baffled scientists for many years,” said lead author Jason Carroll from at Cancer Research UK’s Cambridge Research Institute.
“This research helps explain why some breast cancer patients have a better outlook,” Carroll said.
“This study in the cells shows how a cheap, safe, and widely available drug could potentially improve treatment for around half of all breast cancer patients,” concluded Emma Smith, senior science communication officer at Cancer Research UK’s Cambridge Research Institute.