Blood cancers are more common in men than in women, but it has not been clear why this is the case. A study published by Cell Press December 4th in Cell Stem Cell provides an explanation, revealing that female sex hormones called estrogens regulate the survival, proliferation, and self-renewal of stem cells that give rise to blood cancers. Moreover, findings in mice with blood neoplasms–the excessive production of certain blood cells–suggest that a drug called tamoxifen, which targets estrogen receptors and is approved for the treatment of breast cancer, may also be a valuable strategy for blocking the development of blood neoplasms in humans.
“Our study demonstrates that targeting estrogen signaling with a clinically approved drug, at doses with an acceptable toxicity profile in humans, provides a novel potential therapeutic strategy for a set of neoplasms currently without a definitive cure,” said senior study author Simón Méndez-Ferrer of the National Center for Cardiovascular Research (CNIC) in Madrid, Spain.
“Our results suggest that tamoxifen, at a similar dose used for the treatment of other diseases, might be useful to treat myeloproliferative neoplasms at various stages, without being toxic to normal blood cells,” Méndez-Ferrer says. “The fact that this drug is FDA-approved, readily available and sufficiently safe facilitates the potential translation of our results from the bench to the bedside.”
Source : Science Daily News