American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) – Researchers may have found the actual reason for poorer outcomes of an African-American woman suffering from ER+ cancer was compared with the European American patients.

It stated that the poorer results could be because of a strong survival mechanism within African-American patients’ cancer cells.

women breast cancer

Insights on the matter

Estrogen receptor positive cancer is considered as one of the severe forms of cancers that can give immense pain to the patients before taking their lives away. There was a research conducted by a few prominent scientists at the Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Center for Cancer.

The results of this research work are being discussed at the annual meeting of American Association for Cancer Research.

With the help of results that scientists received, they concluded that tumors in African-American patients were less sensitive to tamoxifen, which is a prominent treatment for ER+ breast cancer. As per the reports, tamoxifen is caused due to the enhanced activation of unfolded protein response.

If unfolded protein response is activated due to the increased stress within a cancer cell after anti-cancer treatment, it can change to a pro-survival pathway.

Ayesha Shajahan-Haq, Lead Investigator of the study, says that due to this pro-survival pathway, tumor cells hunker down and wait for the right time to attack.

She further adds that the team working on this project found the African-American parents had elevated activation of the pro-survival pathway of UPR as compared to other parents. They also witnessed the improved activity of various genes associated with that pathway. If things fall in line, then this discovery may further lead to an increased level of resistance to common therapies.

More than 70% of breast cancers are nothing but ER+, which is a clear indication that they rely on the growth of estrogen. Shajahan-Haq feels that there is a long way to go before scientists could come up with a solution of this cancer type.

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