Stress Hormones Spread Cancer

Researchers from Basel Medical School in Switzerland have shown that an increase in stress hormones like cortisol is linked to an increase in glucocorticoid receptor sites in distant organs and a greater level of metastases in breast cancer.

The researchers, led by Professor Mohamed Bentires-Alj, showed that, not only do stress hormones increase metastasis, but the different receptors can produce slightly modified forms of the disease and this can render cancer drugs less effective. The researchers studied specific gene activity in their models to assess how the cancer varied between primary and secondaries.

The researchers also showed that the glucocorticoid receptors became very active in metastases and that those with metastases had much higher levels of stress hormones cortisol and corticosterone than those with no metastases.

In previous studies links between stress and cancer showed that people who actively manage their stress survive significantly longer.

Source: ICON the magazine for Integrative Cancer and Oncology News.