The female hormone induces expression of an enzyme in precancerous cells

Tuesday, January 4, 2011 (Last Updated: 01/05/2011)

TUESDAY, Jan. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Estrogen appears to induce the expression of genes that ultimately promote the development of head and neck cancers, according to research published in the January issue of Cancer Prevention Research.

Ekaterina G. Shatalova, Ph.D., of the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, and colleagues studied the impact of estrogen on the development of head and neck cancers following earlier findings suggesting that estrogen metabolism changes caused by smoke exposure may influence the development of lung cancer.

The researchers found that estrogen induced cytochrome P450 1B1 (CYP1B1) expression in precancerous cells, though not in cancer cells. Further investigation showed that depletion of CYP1B1 expression lessened precancerous cells' motility and ability to divide. Estrogen also appeared to reduce cell death in precancerous cells.

"Our previous studies showed that the CYP1B1 enzyme sits at the hub of changes that occur in the lungs after smoke exposure. We were now able to look at its role in a more direct fashion by removing it from precancerous cells of the oral cavity. We found that cells lacking it move slower. CYP1B1 could be a wonderful target in precancerous lesions of the head and neck, because by attacking it, we might stop these lesions from progressing or moving to a more advanced stage," co-author Margie L. Clapper, Ph.D., also of the Fox Chase Cancer Center, said in a statement.

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Specialties Hematology & Oncology
OBGYN & Women's Health

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