Thursday, February 7, 2013

Different tumor phenotypes due to impact of stress

      Cara mentions in her post called Stress and My Experience how ironic it would be for the outcome of her stress to be cancer. This makes me want to tie in some of the things I've been learning in this class as well as another class I'm taking this semester. Last week, Forbes published an article titled New Study Shows How Stress Feeds Cancer Cells. Now, although this topic is not really new to us, we get the opportunity to delve even further into some of the epigenetic factors that might play a role in cancer. The study produced two different but closely related experiments and they showed that when mice were exposed to stress, prostate cancer treatment was not effective. Stress was getting in the way of inhibiting growth of the tumor or the tumors simply just did not react to the drug. This can make one wonder how strong the correlation is between the impact of stress and the androgens that prostate cancer depend on. Prostate growth correlates well with dihydrotesterone so drug therapies try to block the action of the Androgen Receptor either by reducing the biosynthesis of androgens or by blocking androgens from binding to the Androgen Receptor in the first place. It turns out, however, that epinephrine, the hormone that is secreted during stress, does contribute to cancer treatment effectiveness. So now, anti-cancer therapies not only have to block androgens in some way or another, but maybe adrenaline as well because a cycle is produced where many times cancer and stress come hand in hand. Some cancer patients develop stress after they've been diagnosed and that allows their tumors to grow since their body won't respond to the administered drugs. This is a great step in creating a more accurate, effective cancer therapeutic treatment especially considering how big of a role stress plays in our society in this day and age! 

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