Heavy iron factor in breast cancer

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012 | In Health | Tags: , ,

Heavy iron factor in breast cancer
~ Heavy iron factor in breast cancer ~

A protein that eliminates iron from the cells could be used to slow the growth of cancerous tumors, to predict the outcome for breast cancer patients, according to a recent study.

Researchers at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Centre in North Carolina found that levels of ferroportin, a protein that exports iron from cells are strikingly lower in breast tumors than in normal tissues.

The lack of ferroportin results in a built-up of iron, which allows a tumor to grow and perhaps become more aggressive, said Suzy Torti, an associate professor of biochemistry at Wake Forest Baptist and one of the lead investigators on the study published in Science Translational Medicine.

When the researchers restored ferroportin levels to normal in human breast tumors in mice, the tumors grew more slowly. Because ferroportin can remove iron from the cell, when we put the protein back into the cell, the ferroportin removed the cancer’s growth stimulus. Ferroportin is a substantial influence on the behavior of the cancer.

Patients should not, however, change the amount of iron in their diets, she stressed, because the study was focused on cellular, not dietary iron. The researchers also looked at data on more than 800 women with breast cancer to see if they could find a link between ferroportin levels and long-term outcomes for cancer.

They found that low ferroportin levels were a strong predictor of a poor outcome for women with breast cancer and that ferroportin levels were lowest in the most aggressive areas of cancer. But they also had food news in which high levels of ferroportin predicted a 90% chance that a woman would be long-term cancer survivor.

Using ferroportin as a marker for iron regulation may be a useful tool in breast cancer prognosis and may even help direct therapy. In the future, manipulating levels of ferroportin or proteins that affect levels of ferroportin may prove to be an effective breast cancer treatment. Finally, eat too much of iron-rich clams can also lead a tumor to grow.

Source Credit: theSun newspaper.


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