Like many tissues in the human body, breast tissue contains estrogen receptors . These estrogen receptors come in at least two main types, estrogen receptor alpha (ERalpha) and estrogen receptor beta (ERbeta). Many research studies have suggested that the impact of estrogen or other chemicals that can bind to estrogen receptors depends on the ratio of these two types of estrogen receptors. A new research study examined what happens to breast cancer cells in culture when they lose their ERbeta receptors.
To study this impact of ERbeta receptors, the breast cancer researchers took two types of cells, non-cancerous breast cells and breast cancer cells, and removed their ERbeta receptors and then examined changes in their ability to grow and respond to tamoxifen. These breast cancer researchers reported that
Both cell types showed a substantial increase in growth when their ERbeta receptors were removed.
Removal of ERbeta from the breast cancer cells caused these cells to become less responsive to tamoxifen treatment.
These changes support the idea that ERbeta receptors might act as breast cancer tumor suppressors.
This is fascinating new research into the impact of estrogen receptors on breast cancer. While hormones are clearly a risk factor for women with hormone-dependent breast cancer , the risk might be modified by which receptors are present and the levels at which they are present. If ERbeta receptors truly have tumor suppressor properties, then compounds that bind these ERbeta receptors might have some potential for reducing breast cancer risk.
To find out what kind of diet and lifestyle changes we can all make to reduce breast cancer risk, read my book Fight Now: Eat & Live Proactively Against Breast Cancer at www.fightBCnow.com .