Washington: A combination of drugs that target estrogen production may help prevent tobacco carcinogen-induced lung cancer, researchers believe.In a trial study in mice, antiestrogens significantly reduced the number of tobacco carcinogen-induced lung tumors.“Antiestrogens have been shown to prevent breast cancer in some women,” said Jill M. Siegfried, Ph.D., professor in the department of pharmacology and chemical biology at University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute. “If antiestrogens can prevent lung cancer as well, this would be a major advance, because these drugs are safe to give for long periods and there are no approved ways to prevent lung cancer,” Siegfried stated.Most lung cancers are positive for a type of estrogen receptor that makes lung tumors grow when exposed to estrogen. In addition, an enzyme in the lung called aromatase produces estrogen. Siegfried and colleagues hoped that by blocking this estrogen receptor and the aromatase enzyme, they might be able to prevent estrogen-sensitive lung tumors.To test this theory, they conducted a study on two groups of female mice: one group that was currently being exposed to a tobacco carcinogen and one that had past exposure to a tobacco carcinogen and in which some precancerous cells had already formed. The mice were assigned to treatment with a placebo, the aromatase inhibitor anastrozole, the antiestrogen fulvestrant or a combination of anastrozole and fulvestrant.
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