Thursday, July 3, 2014

BPA Found to Activate Breast Cancer Cells and Interfere with Treatment

Last week at the annual joint meeting of the International Society of Endocrinology and the Endocrine Society of Chicago, a team from Duke University in North Carolina presented an abstract indicating that Bisphenol-A (BPA) is linked to the speed of progression of inflammatory breast cancer as well as rendering the treatment for the cancer less effective.

BPA, along with many other man-made chemicals, has become quite prevalent in our environment, and have been shown to possess estrogen-like characteristics which have led to significant human health problems.  BPA, in addition to many similar endocrine disruptors, can be found in many different products, including the plastic in water bottles, the thermal paper for printers, and countless other products made from plastic and epoxy resins.

Inflammatory breast cancer is much more aggressive and rare compared with other cancers, and is also one of the more difficult cancers to treat due to the fact that it is often not diagnosed until a much more advanced stage. 

Dr. Scott Sauer and his team from Duke University presented their data at a recent meeting and found that BPA was the most active endocrine disruptor in the breast cancer cells study, and BPA actually increases the rate of inflammatory breast cancer cell growth and spread/proliferation.  Specifically, BPA increased pEGFR and pERK levels in EGFR-activated breast cancer cells, as well as increased expression of a few antioxidants in these same cells, the levels of which are important in the proliferation and spread the cancer.

A common treatment for inflammatory breast cancer, lapatinib, basically functions to inhibit both pEGFR levels and GPER expressions, however, this study by the Duke group found that BPA effectively negated the actions of lapatinib, and basically rendered the drug ineffective.  In other words, BPA increased pEGFR levels in the breast cancer cells much more quickly and efficiently than the treatment drug could counteract, thereby indicating that BPA not only can speed up the growth and spread of inflammatory breast cancer, but it also makes the cells effectively resistant to the current therapy used today.