Alcohol May Undo the Therapeutic Benefit of Tamoxifen in Breast Cancer

Chin-Yo Lin, Ph.D. University of Houston Center for Nuclear Receptors and Cell Signaling Department of Biology and Biochemistry Science and Engineering Research Center (SERC) 3517 Cullen Blvd, Rm 3018 Houston, TX 77204-5056

Dr. Chin Yo Lin

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Chin-Yo Lin, Ph.D.

University of Houston
Center for Nuclear Receptors and Cell Signaling
Department of Biology and Biochemistry
Science and Engineering Research Center (SERC)
Houston, TX 77204-5056 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Lin: Many studies have established that alcohol consumption is a risk factor for breast cancer. Breast cancers associated with drinking tend to be hormone receptor-positive, the type is commonly treated with the drug tamoxifen which blocks the actions of estrogen in driving tumor growth in pre-menopausal women. Alcohol consumption has also been shown to increase the risk of disease recurrence in patients. Our study shows that alcohol can enhance the effects of estrogen by increasing cancer cell division and also reduce the efficacy of tamoxifen. The key mechanistic insight from the study is that alcohol treatment of breast cancer cells increased the expression of BRAF, a cancer-causing gene that is commonly mutated and activated in other types of cancers.

MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Lin: In terms of cancer prevention, women who consume alcohol regularly should weigh these potential risks with their enjoyment and also possible health benefits in decreasing the risk of heart disease. For clinicians caring for patients who are receiving tamoxifen as part of their treatment plan, these findings suggest that alcohol consumption may adversely affect the therapeutic efficacy of tamoxifen.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Lin: Findings from our study suggest that alcohol consumption may impact patient survival among those who received tamoxifen. Future studies focused on this specific patient population are warranted based on these discoveries. Longer-term studies in cell-based and animal models of breast cancer should shed light on the effects of long-term exposure to alcohol and the roles of BRAF and other mechanisms of action in alcohol-related breast cancers. 

MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?

Dr. Lin: It is still too early to provide specific recommendations on the “safe” amount of alcohol to consume regarding the risk of breast cancer or for patients concerned with the potential reduction in the efficacy of tamoxifen.

MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.

Citation:

PLoS One. 2015 Dec 14;10(12):e0145061. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0145061. eCollection 2015.

Alcohol Regulates Genes that Are Associated with Response to Endocrine Therapy and Attenuates the Actions of Tamoxifen in Breast Cancer Cells.

Candelaria NR1, Weldon R1, Muthusamy S1, Nguyen-Vu T1, Addanki S1, Yoffou PH1, Karaboga H1, Blessing AM1, Bollu LR2, Miranda RC3, Lin CY1.

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

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Dr. Chin-Yo Lin (2016). Alcohol May Undo the Therapeutic Benefit of Tamoxifen in Breast Cancer MedicalResearch.com

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