The androgen receptor is a tumor suppressor in estrogen receptor–positive breast cancer

Journal: Nature Medicine

Published: 2021-01-18

DOI: 10.1038/s41591-020-01168-7

Affiliations: 16

Authors: 24

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Research Highlight

Male hormone is effective against most breast cancers

© Peter Dazeley/The Image Bank/Getty Images

© Peter Dazeley/The Image Bank/Getty Images

Stimulating the activity of receptors of the hormone androgen is an effective strategy in treating roughly 80% of breast cancers.

The sex hormone estrogen stimulates breast development in adolescent girls. But abnormal activity of estrogen receptors also drives the dominant form of breast cancer. Hormone therapy is generally effective against this form of breast cancer, but tumours sometimes develop resistance to drugs.

The role of androgen and its receptors in breast cancer has been a lot more murky and there has been much debate about whether androgen receptors should be promoted or inhibited.

Now, a team led by researchers at the University of Adelaide in Australia has found clear evidence that androgen and its receptors are powerful suppressors of breast tumours. They discovered that androgenic drugs were effective against tumours that had developed resistance to standard drugs and also gave better results when used in combination with standard drugs.

The findings have immediate implications for women with metastatic estrogen receptor–positive breast cancer, the researchers say.

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  1. Nature Medicine 27, 310–320 (2021). doi: 10.1038/s41591-020-01168-7
Institutions Share
The University of Adelaide (Adelaide Uni), Australia 0.29
Garvan Institute of Medical Research, Australia 0.17
University of New South Wales (UNSW Sydney), Australia 0.17
University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus (CU Anschutz), United States of America (USA) 0.08
The University of Nottingham (UoN), United Kingdom (UK) 0.08
Oncode Institute, Netherlands 0.04
Netherlands Cancer Institute (NKI), Netherlands 0.04
CRUK Cambridge Centre, United Kingdom (UK) 0.04
University of Liverpool, United Kingdom (UK) 0.02
The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre NHS Foundation Trust, United Kingdom (UK) 0.02
Flinders University, Australia 0.01
Bergonié Cancer Institute, France 0.01
University of Bordeaux, France 0.01