Tags: Cancer | bpa | plastics | chemical | cancer | breast

Plastics Chemical Promotes Breast Tumors: Study

By Nick Tate   |   Friday, 07 Mar 2014 03:43 PM

The plastics chemical bisphenol A (BPA) has been found to promote breast cancer tumor growth, according to biochemists at the University of Texas-Arlington. The findings are the latest to raise concerns about the ubiquitous chemical, which is used in everything from plastic bottles to CDs and paper cash receipts.

In new research published in the Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, the UT scientists said the findings help provide an understanding of how the commonly used synthetic hormone-like compound promotes cancer growth. Past studies, most involving animals, have linked BPA to prostate cancer, diabetes, obesity, and heart disease.

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"We can't immediately say BPA causes cancer growth, but it could well contribute because it is disrupting the genes that defend against that growth," said Subhrangsu Mandal, a UT associate professor of chemistry/biochemistry. "Understanding the d impact of these synthetic hormones is an important way to protect ourselves and could be important for treatment."
For the new study, Mandal and colleagues examined a molecule known as RNA HOTAIR — an abbreviation for a part of DNA in humans that can suppress genes that would normally slow tumor growth or cause cancer cell death.
High levels of HOTAIR have been linked to breast tumors, pancreatic, and colorectal cancers, sarcoma, and others. The UT-Arlington researchers found that when breast cells and tumors were exposed to BPA in lab tests, the chemical promoted the creation of abnormal amounts of HOTAIR.
"We were surprised to find that BPA not only increased HOTAIR in tumor cells but also in normal breast tissue," said Arunoday Bhan, a student in Mandal's lab who helped conduct the research. He said further studies are needed, but the results suggest BPA and HOTAIR are involved in tumor genesis and growth.
BPA has been widely used in plastics and belongs to a class of endocrine disrupting chemicals that mimic natural hormones. As a result, they can interfere with hormone regulation and proper function of human cells, glands and tissue.
The UT study was funded, in part, by the National Institutes of Health and American Heart Association.
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