A Possible Connection Between Cholesterol and Breast Cancer

A Possible Connection Between Cholesterol and Breast Cancer

Mackenzie Thompson

by Mackenzie Thompson

Life Saver, AMC

posted on Mar 25, 2014, at 9:50 pm


IT HAS BEEN KNOWN THAT WOMEN WITH HEART DISEASE factors have a higher probability of developing breast cancer, but the reason why has stumped scientists for quite some time. After recent studies, though, there has been evidence of high cholesterol playing a major part.

The hormone estrogen drives most breast cancers by assisting in tumor growth. Recently, pediatrician and biologist Philip Shaul and his colleagues discovered that a common breakdown product of cholesterol also activates estrogen receptors, so they teamed up with Duke University cancer biologist Donald McDonnell. In 2008, together, they demonstrated that 27HC (a cholesterol product) promoted tumor growth in breast cancer cells. They independently expanded on this topic and showed that 27HC urges cancer growth in mice harboring estrogen receptor-positive human breast tumors. Also, when the mice were fed high-cholesterol or high-fat diets by McDonnell and his team, they were more likely to develop breast cancer. Shaul also found with his own patients three times higher levels of 27HC in women with breast cancer than of those without.

It remains uncertain how breast cancer risks are affected by blood cholesterol levels there was no consistent link between 27HC levels in tumors and blood cholesterol levels. “But there may be subsets of women with high cholesterol at greater risk,” says Sérgio Dias, a biologist at the Institute of Molecular Medicine in Lisbon. Overall, the findings do suggest future improvements in more studies and also treatments. Supported already by one study, there is faith in the idea that cholesterol-lowering statin drugs might impede the growth of some breast cancers.

To see the full article, please visit Scientific American

About Mackenzie

Mackenzie is a lover of world travel, photography, design, style and Chinese cooking. She is passionate about working towards a purpose, recently graduated from Indiana University with a degree in Media and Marketing, and is currently residing in Manhattan.

Contact Mackenzie at mackenzie.thompson@advmedcert.com

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