By Dr Ananya Mandal, MD
A latest study shows that a hormone receptor normally confined to the reproductive organs is found in malignant tumors in many parts of the body. Researchers from the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in New York City explained that this may mean a new target for the early diagnosis and treatment of cancer. The study was published in the latest issue of The New England Journal of Medicine.
They studied tumor tissue samples from 1,336 men and women with 11 common cancers, including prostate, breast, colon, pancreatic, lung, liver and ovarian and found the presence of the follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) receptor in the blood vessel cells of the tumors. Normally this receptor is not found on blood vessels with the exception of the reproductive organs, where it is present in much lower concentrations than in tumors, said the American and French researchers.
The team found that activation of the FSH receptor contributes to the signaling of a protein (VEGF) that stimulates the growth of blood vessels, including those in tumors. Blocking the action of the FSH receptor may also block the signaling of VEGF. This may mean cutting of the blood supply to the tumor, effectively killing it.