Chronic Stress Promotes Breast Cancer – Vitamin C Might Be An Effective Treatment

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In a recent study, released in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, the scientists from the University of Illinois revealed that chronic stress promotes breast cancer in women with this disease who are following treatment. Also, the researchers identified Vitamin C as an effective treatment against that progression of cancerous cells.

The majority of those women diagnosed with breast cancer and who follow a therapy against it are suffering from depression and chronic stress. It has been already known that stress promotes evolution and spread of breast cancer cells in those women affected by the disease, but no scientist could explain how and why is that happening. That until now when a new study found out that the stress hormone epinephrine triggers some biochemical reactions that favor cancerous cells to proliferate and spread.

The research also revealed that chronic stress promotes, in particular, the development of cancer stem cells which are like the “mother cells” of cancer.

Chronic Stress Promotes Breast Cancer, But Vitamin C Could Be An Effective Treatment

“You can kill all the cells you want in a tumor, but if the stem cells, or mother cells, are not killed, then the tumor is going to grow and metastasize. This is one of the first studies to link chronic stress specifically with the growth of breast cancer stem cells,” said Keith Kelle from the University of Illinois.

“The direct signaling network between stress pathways and a cancer-propagating system remains almost completely unknown. A better understanding of the biochemistry that causes stress to increase the growth of cancer cells could lead us toward targeted drug interventions, one of which we discovered in this work,” added Quentin Liu of the Institute of Cancer Stem Cell at Dalian Medical University in China, and one of the new study’s authors.

“These data provide a novel pathway that explains how elevated epinephrine caused by chronic stress promotes breast cancer progression by acting directly on cancer stem cells. Taken together, these findings show that vitamin C might be a novel and effective therapeutic agent for targeting cancer in patients undergoing chronic stress,” Liu concluded.