Yesterday @RoswellPark tweeted about stress and metastatic breast cancer. Because of the genetic connection between ovarian and breast cancer I followed the link to this press release from Vanderbilt University Medical Center titled "Stress fuels breast cancer metastasis to bone" .
I don't usually write blog posts from press releases so I looked further and found the team of researchers also published in the PLOS/Biology and online peer reviewed journal in an article titled "Stimulation of Host Bone Marrow Stromal Cells by Sympathetic Nerves Promotes Breast Cancer Bone Metastasis in Mice." Feel free to read the entire article ( complete with graphs, photos and citations) online.
In a nutshell, Vanderbilt Center for Bone Biology researchers using a mouse model for bone metastasis found through experimentation that making the sympathetic nervous system ( In humans stress and depression activate the system.) active in mice promoted breast cancer cell colonization in the bone marrow of the mice . Their results showed that the stress activated RANKL ( a protein found in the bone that stimulates the break down of bone ) and helped to promote the cancer cell migration. They also showed that chronic stress in vivo can be blocked by introducing the beta-blocker Propranolol. Their conclusion was that the use of Beta blockers and drugs that interfere with the RANKL signaling like Denosumab, a drug approved to build bone mass could increase patient survival if used as adjuvant therapy.
I am sure that human trials will be forthcoming since beta -blockers are generally safe and used by many for blood pressure control and migraines prevention.
It is research like this that is so exciting to read about.
Every Day is a Blessing.