Breast cancer: Hormone therapy may only put some cells to ‘sleep’
Why does breast cancer sometimes recur after treatment? A new study suggests that in part, the answer may lie in the effect of adjuvant hormone therapy on some cancer cells. Luca Magnani, who is a principal research fellow in the Faculty of Medicine at Imperial College London in the United Kingdom, states the there is an ongoing debate about about whether hormone therapies work by killing breast cancer cells, or simply flip them into a dormant ‘sleeper’ state. Magnani and colleagues from Imperial College London, the University of Milan in Italy, and Yonsei University College of Medicine in Seoul, South Korea — among other academic institutions — have recently delved into the debate, studying approximately 50,000 single cells of human breast cancer. Their findings suggest the drugs may actually kill some cells and switch others into this sleeper state. If the secrets of these dormant cells unlock, we may be able to find a way of preventing cancer coming back.
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