According to the members of Department of Pharmacology and Cancer Biology at Duke, a byproduct of cholesterol functions like the hormone estrogen to fuel the growth and spread of the most common types of breast cancers.
"A lot of studies have shown a connection between obesity and breast cancer, and specifically that elevated cholesterol is associated with breast cancer risk, but no mechanism has been identified," said senior author Donald McDonnell, chair of the Department of Pharmacology and Cancer Biology at Duke.
"What we have now found is a molecule - not cholesterol itself, but an abundant metabolite of cholesterol - called 27HC that mimics the hormone estrogen and can independently drive the growth of breast cancer," added McDonnell.
It is also said that there is a strong link between high cholesterol and breast cancer, especially in post-menopausal women, reports femalefirst.co.uk.
The hormone estrogen feeds an estimated 75 percent of all breast cancers. In a key earlier finding from McDonnell's lab, researchers determined that 27-hydroxycholesterol behaved similarly to estrogen in animals.
--IANS (Posted on 02-12-2013)