Does HCG or HCG-beta play a role in breast cancer cell biology?

Iles, Ray K. and Butler, Stephen A. (2010) Does HCG or HCG-beta play a role in breast cancer cell biology? Tumour Biology, 31 (S39). ISSN 1010-4283

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Aim: hCG's involvement in breast cancer has been antithetical: the detection of ectopically expressed hCGbeta by breast tumors has been employed as a biomarker of malignancy, and hCG has been proposed as a ligand vehicle for toxic drugs. However, it has also been proposed that hCG is a protective agent against the development of breast cancer, leading some to advocate hCG administration to non-pregnant women as a prophylactic measure against cancer. We review the current literature to reconcile these differences. Method: Literature review and analysis. Results: Recent work has hCGbeta is involved in the angiogenesis, metastasis and immune escape that are central to cancer progression-are phenomena which clearly apply to breast cancer. Conversely, hCg has been shown to alter gene expression and malignant behaviour of breast cancer cells and a clinical trial is underway to see if the incidence of breast cancer is reduced in women who received exogenous hCG. Conclusion: We propose that this apparent paradox is resolved if the free beta subunit of hCG produced by tumors acts as an autocrine anti-apoptotic and angiogenic growth factor, whilst intact heterodimeric hCG, as in pregnancy, is part of developmental signaling that initiates tissue differentiation (including breast ductal tissue development), and hence reduces the population of stem-like cells which are susceptible to oncogenic factors.

Item Type:Article
Research Areas:A. > School of Science and Technology > Natural Sciences
ID Code:7963
Deposited On:27 Jun 2011 10:13
Last Modified:07 Oct 2015 15:53

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