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A great deal of evidence is accumulating that stress may affect cancer progression and patient survival, yet the mechanisms for this association are poorly understood. Cortisol is the primary stress hormone where several clinical studies have demonstrated that cortisol levels positively correlate with high mortality rate and recurrence of cancer. This study focuses on resolving the mechanism of cortisol in breast cancer initiation and progression. Our data demonstrates that stimulation with cortisol directly enhances breast cancer cell numbers and increases the rate that cells exit from G1 phase of the cell cycle. Furthermore, we demonstrate that cortisol enhances breast cancer cell migration as measured by the ability to repair a wound as well as cell migration towards a chemoattractant. Microarray analysis has revealed numerous interesting targets for these effects. This approach to studying tumourigenesis may provide targets for drug design that will improve current treatment strategies.
Ritchie, Jenna C., "The Role of Cortisol in Breast Cancer Initiation and Progression" (2008). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 8278.