Reproductive biology and endocrinology : RB&E

The role of hormones and aromatase inhibitors on breast tumor growth and general health in a postmenopausal mouse model.

PMID 25023195


Breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in women in the United States. Approximately 70% of breast cancers are diagnosed in postmenopausal women. Major clinical trials and experimental studies showed that aromatase inhibitors are effective against postmenopausal breast cancer. Despite their effectiveness in reducing tumor recurrence, aromatase inhibitors have adverse effects on the cardiovascular system and increase osteoporosis and bone fractures. Our study is aimed at investigating the role of natural steroid hormones on serum cardiovascular and bone resorption markers in an established mouse model mimicking postmenopausal breast cancer. Ovariectomized nude mice were transplanted with MCF-7 breast cancer cells constitutively expressing aromatase. The mice were treated with different combinations and doses of steroids, [estrogen (25 pg, 40 pg, 100 pg), progesterone (6 ng) and testosterone (50 ng)] along with dehydroepiandrostenedione (100 ug). Serum levels of HDL, LDL/VLDL, free and total cholesterol, total and bone specific alkaline phosphatase and triglycerides were analyzed after 5, 10 and 15 months. Free cholesterol and LDL/VLDL levels in serum were reduced in groups mimicking estrous cycle and menstrual cycle hormones treatment. HDL cholesterol was increased in all the hormone treated groups except the estrous cycle-mimicking group. Bone specific alkaline phosphatase was decreased in menstrual cycle levels of estrogen and progesterone treatment. All together our results show that use of natural hormones in appropriate combinations have beneficial effects on cardiac and bone toxicity, along with better tumor reduction than current treatments.