Washington: Oestrogen can reduce the risk of breast cancer, says a team of researchers at CIC bioGUNE. Their work shows that oestrogen is capable of reducing the number of breast cancer stem cells, which may explain the lower aggression of the tumour and, as a consequence, the possibility of a better prognosis. The research combined the use of human samples and laboratory cell lines. Oestrogen is a hormone which is not without its complexity; on the one hand it is essential for the normal development and functioning of the breast and, on the other, this same hormone induces the proliferation of cancer cells once the breast tumour has appeared, i.e. oestrogen is also a risk factor in breast cancer. However, nothing or little has been known until now about the effect of oestrogen on the tumour-initiating cells. It had also been proposed that the number of cancerous stem cells is correlated with the aggressiveness of the tumour: The greater the percentage of breast cancer stem cells, the greater the aggressiveness and the worse, thereby, its prognosis.
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