Stress can disrupt cancer therapy

A new research has suggested that patients who experience physical or psychological stress – including rigorous exercise – one or two days before a cancer treatment might be unknowingly sabotaging their therapy.

Stress in the body – even physical stress caused by intense exercise – activates a stress-sensitive protein that can spark a series of events that allow cancer cells to survive such treatments as chemotherapy and radiation, according to the research.

Though the study involved a series of experiments in breast cancer cell cultures, the researchers say the findings are a clear indication that cancer cells have found a way to adapt and resist treatment with the help of this stress-inducible protein.

This cancer cell survival can be traced to the presence of heat shock factor-1, which previous research has linked to stress.

Ohio State University researchers first noticed that this common protein can help heart tissue survive in a toxic environment, leading the scientists to suspect that in cancer, this phenomenon could have serious consequences.

A series of experiments using breast cancer cells showed that a protein activated by the presence of heat shock factor-1 could block the process that kills cancer cells even after the cells’ DNA was damaged by radiation. The same was true when the cells were subjected to a common chemotherapy drug.

The researchers hope to develop a drug that could suppress heat shock factor-1 as a supplement to cancer therapy, but in the meantime, they recommend that patients avoid both psychological and physical stress in the days leading up to a cancer treatment.

The study appears online in the journal Molecular Cancer Research.

ANI

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. You can find out more by clicking this link

Close