Posts Tagged ‘isolation’

Social Isolation and it’s Effect on Breast Cancer

Friday, November 13th, 2009


Research at the University of Chicago reported in Cancer Prevention Research in October that a ” socially isolated, stressful environment can speed up the growth of breast cancer” in animal models and can actually change the expression of genes involved in the growth of mammary gland tumors Their study followed other studies showing that stress can adversely affect cancer. In their study the researchers randomly assigned mice genetically suceptible for breast cancer to live in social isolation or with groups shortly after weaning. Three and a half weeks later they measured the gene expression in the mammary glands and found reproducible changes in the mice in isolation. These genes that were turned on and off by metabolism are known to contribute to increased breast cancer growth. The mice in isolation developed larger and more cancers than the mice living in groups and had a higher corticosterone stress hormone response than the group living mice. The researcher believes the findings may suggest molecular biomarkers that can be used in prevention in breast cancer and that perceived or actual environmental stressor can affect which genes get turned on or off. If this is proven in further research it may be possible to to find tumors in their formative stage and suppress them before they become tumors.