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Home Industry News Nicotine linked with breast cancer growth

Nicotine linked with breast cancer growth

15th October 2008

Scientists have found a possible link between nicotine and breast tumour development.

In a report published in Cancer Research today, researchers discovered that breast epithelial-like MCF10A cells and cancerous MCF7 cells both express several subunits of nAChR (nicotine receptor), that when bound, initiate a signaling process, potentially increasing cell growth and migration.

“We were able to determine that mammary cells express different subunits of nAChR and that nicotine, possibly through perturbing cell cycle checkpoints, potentiates tumorigenesis in mammary cancer-prone or cancer cells,” Chang Yan Chen, from the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre, said.

Researchers also found that when injected into the tail of a mouse the cancerous MCF7 cells migrated to the lungs.

Nicotine was discovered not to a conventional carcinogen, but instead it combined with “other yet to be determined factors to enable tumorigenesis”.

“In vitro and in vivo tests showed that no metastasis occurs when the administration of nicotine alone. At this point we can only suggest that nicotine potentiates the growth-related process,” Dr Chen said.

The report called for more research into the effects of nicotine in relation to first- and second-hand exposure, on breast cancer development.

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