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Why Alcohol Increases Risk of Breast Cancer

13 Feb 2014, by Dr. Marnie Wachtler in Health Information


breast-cancer calgaryBackground
Ethanol (all types of alcohol) is a tumor promoter and may enhance the metastasis (growth) of breast cancer.  Twenty to thirty percent of patients with breast cancer shown an increase in of ErbB2 or HER2 growth promoters.

The effect of ethanol can increase the migration/invasion of breast cancer cells with the expression levels of ErbB2. Adhesion to the extracellular matrix (ECM) is an important initial step for cancer cell invasion and metastasis. In this study, they investigated the effects of ethanol on the adhesion breast cancer cells and over-expressing ErbB2.

Results: Exposure to ethanol drastically enhanced the adhesion of MCF(ErbB2) cells to fibronectin and increased the expression of focal adhesions.  Ethanol promoted the interaction among receptors and forming a focal point for which the cancer to grow. Furthermore, ethanol-promoted cell/fibronectin adhesion as well as the expression of focal adhesions.

Conclusions: Results suggest that ethanol enhances the adhesion of breast cancer cells to fibronectin and plays an important role in ethanol-induced formation of a focal complex.

Xu M, et Ethanol enhances the interaction of breast cancer cells over-expressing ErbB2 with fibronectin. Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2010 May;34(5):751-60. Epub 2010 Mar 1.