From San Francisco, at the 91st Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research
Women seem more susceptible than men to the carcinogenic effects of tobacco smoke, research has indicated. New findings suggest that estrogen may also play a role.
When estrogen is present, some cells produce a protein on their surfaces called an estrogen receptor. The hormone can then bind to these cells and spur cell proliferation. Pharmacologist Jill M. Siegfried of the University of Pittsburgh found evidence of estrogen receptors in all five kinds of tumors from patients with non-small-cell lung cancer, the most common variety of lung cancer. Healthy lung cells rarely show estrogen receptors.
Initial tests showed that the tumors made the RNA that directs production of the estrogen receptor known as alpha. A second experiment revealed a profusion of estrogen receptor alpha on the surface of tumor cells, she says.
In another experiment, which compared lu