(RxWiki News) The female hormone estrogen can wreak havoc on a woman's body if it it gets out of hand, promoting the development of breast and endometrial (uterine) cancers.
Scientists may have identified a molecule that can stop this insanity.
A molecule known as Kruppel-like transcription factor-15 ( KLF15) has been identified that puts the brakes on the overzealous growth of female hormones.
The discovery could lead to therapies that may help prevent and treat estrogen-driven breast and uterine cancers.
"Talk to your gynecologist about measuring your estradiol levels."
Researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University conducted animal studies that uncovered the molecule.
Estradiol (key form of estrogen) and another female hormone progesterone get the uterus ready for pregnancy. They work together to start cell events that prepare the lining of the uterus - endometrium - for receiving and nurturing a fertilized egg.
When uterine cells go haywire, women experience all sorts of health issues, including unpredictable menstrual cycles and endometriosis that occurs when uterine cells grown outside the uterus and endometrial cancer.
"The molecular mechanisms that underlie these pathologies are still obscure ─ and so are the mechanisms involved in normal hormonal regulation of cell proliferation in the endometrium, which is essential for successful pregnancy," said lead author Jeffrey Pollard, PhD, professor of developmental and molecular biology and of obstetrics & gynecology and women's health at Einstein.
In animal studies, Dr. Pollard found that the KLF15 molecule can keep in check the behaviors of estradiol and progesterone.
"Our findings raise the possibility that it may be feasible to prevent or treat endometrial and breast cancer and other diseases related to estrogen by promoting the action of KLF15," said Dr. Pollard.
These findings were published online April 26 in the PNAS Plus.
The study was supported by grants from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development of the National Institutes of Health.
The authors report no conflicts of interest.