Health Watch - Cancer Research: Estrogen's Effects

Health Watch is a Public Service of the University News Bureau and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.


This week on Health Watch, we’re talking about scientific research into cancer, as part of the ongoing effort to find new treatments. Doctors have known for a while that estrogen plays a big role in the development of breast cancer. Now they have a better idea of exactly what effect estrogen has on cells.

Most breast cancers contain estrogen receptors, and those receptors have been a target of some cancer treatment. But now researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center and their colleagues at Cornell University have found a way to measure the specific effect of estrogen in real time at a molecular level. Dr. W. Lee Kraus, a UT Southwestern reproductive biologist, says estrogen affects a large percentage of ribonucleic acid molecules in breast cancer cells, turning genes off and on very quickly. This knowledge gives researchers a lot of potential areas to explore to find ways to modify cell growth and response to estrogen for fighting breast cancer. 

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July 2011

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