UK and Australian scientists have recently featured a study in Nature Publishing Group that suggests early signs of drugs including the hormone progesterone, could be used to slow down the growth of some breast cancer tumours.


The study is being used to inform clinical trials, which they are hoping will lead to improved survival rates for up to half of the 55,000 women who are diagnosed with breast cancer each year.


Hormones are known to be highly significant in the development of breast cancer. On the surface of each breast cancer cell lie hormone receptors, which can cause cancer cells to divide. There are different types of hormone receptors, including progesterone and oestrogen receptors. 75% of women affected by breast cancer have oestrogen receptors and of that figure, 75% have both types. Previous studies have revealed cancer cells with progesterone receptors to be less aggressive.


The scientists have been observing the growth of breast cancer cells and have discovered a link between progesterone and oestrogen receptors. The study shows signs that introducing progesterone to cancers where oestrogen receptors are present can make the cancer less aggressive, by reducing the growth of the cells.


At present, the drug tamoxifen is used to treat and prevent some types of breast cancer. Recent tests show that cancer cells treated with progesterone and tamoxifen grow to half the size than cells treated with tamoxifen alone.


Scientists from the University of Adelaide and University of Cambridge are hopeful that this new research will lead to gaining greater control over the growth rate of breast cancer cells and have described the discovery as “exciting.”


If you live in Richmond and have been affected by breast cancer, or any other type of cancer within the last 5 years, Richmond CCG are keen to hear from you. A workshop is being planned for the autumn to give patients the opportunity to talk about their experiences of the treatment received from local cancer services. The feedback will be used to help inform and improve cancer services in the future.

For more information about the event and find out how you can give feedback, contact Bonnie Green via email: [email protected] or phone 07774 650 391.