Alcohol accelerates functioning of breast cancer causing gene: Study

Alcohol accelerates functioning of breast cancer causing gene: Study

The glitz and glamour associated with booze led to the death of an estimated 30,700 Americans in 2014 alone, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Considering the fact that alcohol abuse is the fifth leading risk factor for premature death and disability globally, various researchers across the world are trying to understand the impact of alcohol on our health. In their pursuit to dig deep about the effects of alcohol, researchers of the University of Houston in Texas revealed that alcohol is associated with a heightened risk of chronic cancer in women with early-stage breast cancer.

230,000 women in America may develop breast cancer by 2016

The study, titled “Alcohol Regulates Genes that Are Associated with Response to Endocrine Therapy and Attenuates the Actions of Tamoxifen in Breast Cancer Cells,” highlighted a direct association between alcohol, estrogen and a gene causing cancer.

The study, published in the journal PLOS One in December 2015, inferred that approximately 230,000 women in America would develop breast cancer by 2016.

The American drinking culture induced the scientists to analyze the effects of alcohol on the growth factor and estrogen signaling, along with the gene regulatory networks involved in clinical outcomes in patients suffering from breast cancer.

Alcohol increases rate of cell multiplication induced by estrogen

The scientists also studied the impact of alcohol on tamoxifen, prescribed to breast cancer patients, and the part played by alcohol-regulated genes in breast cancer. Lead author of the study Chin-Yo Lin, a cancer biologist at the University of Houston in Texas, said, “We want to provide women, in general, with more information and insight to be better able to balance their consumption of alcoholic beverages with the potential health risks.”

The findings pointed to the ability of alcohol to increase the rate of cell multiplication induced by estrogen. The scientists discovered that alcohol aids in expression of a cancer causing gene called BRAF, even without any traces of estrogen in the body, and imitates it, apart from intensifying the effects of estrogen, thus, heightening the likelihood of breast cancer.

Alcohol prevents cancer medicine tamoxifen from restraining cell growth

Alcohol prevents tamoxifen from restraining cell growth. Though the impact of alcohol has always been linked to scores of breast cancer cases in the U.S., the latest study highlighted the way alcohol intake can impede the recovery of breast cancer patients.

Stressing on the observations made, Lin said, “Alcohol consumption is prevalent among women in the U.S. and is a risk factor for breast cancer. Our research shows alcohol enhances the actions of estrogen in driving the growth of breast cancer cells and diminishes the effects of the cancer drug ‘tamoxifen’ on blocking estrogen by increasing the levels of a cancer-causing gene called BRAF.”

Nearly 50% women suffering from breast cancer drink alcohol

Though alcohol is one of the reasons for developing breast cancer, it has been found that approximately 50 percent of women suffering from breast cancer drink alcohol. The study is important in the light of the fact that patients receiving treatment for cancer must know the possible effects of alcohol on their system in order to alter their habits accordingly.

The conclusions drawn from the study are important for college-age women who often find themselves engaged in binge drinking. The authors said, “Hope these and future findings will provide information and motivation to promote healthy behavioral choices, as well as potential targets for chemoprevention strategies to ultimately decrease breast cancer incidents and deaths within the next decade.”

Available treatment options

Despite several researches pointing out the dangers and health implications linked to drinking, the American attitude towards alcohol has not changed much. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the percentage of women drinking every month reached 51.9 in 2014 from 47.9 in 2002.

It is imperative for patients suffering from drinking problems to understand that complete sobriety is possible, though it takes some time. Right combination of behavioral and pharmacological therapeutic interventions, along with family support play an important role.

If you or your loved one is trying to overcome addiction, the Alcohol Addiction Helpline of California can help you connect to various alcohol treatment centers in California. Chat online or call at our 24/7 helpline number 855-980-1715 for more information regarding alcohol rehab centers in California.

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