Byproduct of cholesterol may fuel tumors in some common forms of breast cancer.
McClatchy (11/30, Price) reported that previous research has “shown a link between obesity and breast cancer, and now scientists at Duke Cancer Institute may have found one important explanation: a byproduct of cholesterol that fuels tumors in some of the most common forms of the disease.” The findings are published in Science. The research, partially funded by the National Institutes of Health, may lead to “simple methods to reduce breast cancer risk, including using cholesterol-lowering drugs such as statins and eating a healthier diet.”
The Cleveland Plain Dealer (12/1, Townsend) reported that the researchers “found that a byproduct of cholesterol – a molecule called 27-hydroxycholesterol, or 27HC – functions like estrogen, fueling the growth and spread of breast cancer.” Although “the findings are drawn from studies in mice and tumor cells, the” scientists “say they are significant enough to set the stage for what the researchers call ‘near-term’ clinical trials in humans that can begin exploring how statins and other anti-cholesterol drugs might be used to help lower, or even prevent, a woman’s chances of developing breast cancer.”
BBC News (11/29, Gallagher) pointed out, however, that “cancer charities cautioned that it was too soon to advise women to take statins.”