A study conducted in the United States by researchers at the University of Ohio has found an association between suffering stress and the development of metastasis in women with breast cancer.

According to the conclusions of the research, which has been published in the 'Journal of Clinical Investigation', the activation of ATF3 gene, linked to stress, could contribute to the spread of breast cancer to other areas of the body, including cells of the immune system.

Previous studies have already shown that suffering stress is a risk factor for oncological diseases, and data from the new work indicate that the ATF3 gene acts to incite the cells of the immune system to produce errors that result in the development of cancer. and its spread to other areas of the patient's body.

The scientists first studied the expression of the ATF3 gene in the cells of the immune system of about 300 women with breast cancer, and then analyzed the same process in mice with and without the gene, which had been injected with breast cancer cells. . They checked in this way that the metastasis was more extensive in the animals with the gene.

The gene linked to stress stimulates the cells of the immune system to produce errors that cause cancer and favor its spread

Dr. Tsonwin Hai, professor of Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry at the University of Ohio and lead author of the research, explains that they observed how cancer cells use other healthy cells to establish themselves in different parts of the body.

According to the conclusions of the study, the stress gene behaves like a switch that activates or deactivates other genes of the organism, reason why to develop a drug that could cushion its effect would contribute to diminish the risk of metastasis.

Dr. Sparano Discusses Unmet Needs in Metastatic Breast Cancer (November 2019).