Breast Cancers Can Produce Their Own Estrogen to Resist Aromatase Inhibitors

Breast Cancers Can Produce Their Own Estrogen to Resist Aromatase Inhibitors
Certain breast cancers that rely on estrogen to grow can become resistant to treatment by producing their own fuel, according to the findings of an international team. The study, "Acquired CYP19A1 amplification is an early specific mechanism of aromatase inhibitor resistance in ERα metastatic breast cancer," developed by researchers at the Imperial College London and the European Institute of Oncology in Milan, appeared in Nature Genetics. It shows that cancer cells can become resistant to estrogen-lowering drugs like aromatase inhibitors by increasing the number of aromatase genes, which allows them to produce their own estrogen. Estrogen receptor (ER)-positive breast cancers, which rely on the estrogen hormone to grow, account for more than 70 percent of all breast cancers. These patients often receive one of two classes of drugs after undergoing surgery. The first class, which includes tamoxifen, prevents estrogen from binding to DNA in cancer cells. The second class, called aromatase inhibitors, prevents estrogen from being produced by an enzyme called aromatase. These drugs, which include Arimidex (anastrozole), Aromasin (exemestane), and Femara (letrozole), are usually given to postmenopausal women. Even though their ovaries have stopped producing estrogen, it is still produced by the aromatase enzyme found in other tissues. Gi
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