The hormone therapy treatment for Breast cancer
What are hormones?
The hormones are the substances that function as the chemical messengers in the body , They affect the actions of the cells and the tissues at different locations in the body , And they often reach their targets through the bloodstream .
Estrogen and progesterone are produced by the ovaries in the premenopausal women and by some other tissues , including the fat and the skin in the premenopausal and the postmenopausal women .
Estrogen promotes the development of the female sex characteristics and the long bones growth , Progesterone plays the role in the menstrual cycle and the pregnancy , They can promote the growth of some breast cancers , which are called the hormone-sensitive ( or the hormone-dependent ) breast cancers .
The hormone-sensitive breast cancer cells contain proteins known as the hormone receptors that become activated when the hormones bind to them , The activated receptors cause the changes in the expression of the specific genes that can lead to the stimulation of cell growth .
Breast cancer hormone therapy
The hormone therapy is also called the hormonal therapy , the hormone treatment , or the endocrine therapy , It slows or stops the hormone-sensitive tumors growth by blocking the body’s ability to produce the hormones or by interfering with the hormone action , The tumors which are the hormone-insensitive do not respond to the hormone therapy .
The hormone therapy for the breast cancer is not the same as the menopausal hormone therapy or the female hormone replacement therapy , in which the hormones are given to reduce the menopause symptoms .
The hormone therapy is another form of the systemic therapy , It is used as an adjuvant therapy , It can help reduce the risk of the cancer coming back after the surgery , but it can be used as the neoadjuvant treatment , And it is also used to treat the cancer that has come back after the treatment or has spread .
The ovaries are the source of the hormone estrogen until the woman menopause , After the menopause , there are smaller amounts are still made in the fat tissue of the body , where the hormone made by the adrenal gland is converted into estrogen .
It is very important to know that Estrogen promotes the growth of the cancers which are the hormone receptor-positive , About 2 out of 3 of the breast cancers are the hormone receptor-positive , And they contain the receptors for the hormones estrogen ( the ER-positive cancers ) & the progesterone ( The PR-positive cancers ) .
You have to know that the most types of hormone therapy for the breast cancer either lower estrogen levels or stop estrogen from acting on the breast cancer cells , This type of treatment is helpful for the hormone receptor-positive breast cancers but it does not help the patients whose tumors are the hormone receptor negative ( ER- and PR are negative) .
The estrogen and progesterone hormones affect some breast cancers , these cancers can be described as the estrogen receptor positive (ER+) or the progesterone receptor positive (PR+) or both , And the hormone treatment for the breast cancer works by stopping these hormones getting to the breast cancer cells .