Breast and lung cancer: Shared risk and treatment

December 26, 2015

Earlier studies have shown that lung cancers, like breast and gynecological cancers, express hormone receptors. In the current study, Dr. Elisabetta Rapiti, from the Geneva Cancer Registry, and colleagues reviewed records of 6,655 women diagnosed with breast cancer in Switzerland between 1980 and 2003. Just under half (46 percent) received anti-estrogen therapy which, during that time period, was most likely tamoxifen. Women taking anti-estrogen therapy had an 87 percent decreased risk of death from lung cancer, compared to women who were not taking this type of therapy noted researchers.

Ganti however points out that only 40 women actually developed lung cancer, so it was a very small study group. The estrogen receptors implicated in lung cancer ???don??t seem to discriminate between men and women,??? Ganti said, indicating that anti-estrogens might have the same effect in men, although it is too early to state this definitively. Jing Peng, a post-doctoral associate in the Cancer Prevention Program at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia added that other cancers than breast and gynecological cancers, such as ovarian cancers, lung cancer has been the most extensively studied with regard to its interplay with estrogen. There is limited evidence that estrogen may play a role in head-and-neck cancers as well. She added that further studies can clarify the actual relation of estrogen with all these cancers.