For so many, new breakthrough research could assist their fight with breast cancer.

Breast cancer research being conducted at the University of Adelaide have made a breakthrough discovery in the fight to cure breast cancer with the possibility to prevent and treat the disease.

Published today in Nature Medicine, the international study reveals new evidence that androgens, commonly known as male sex hormones, can play a positive role in fighting oestrogen receptor-driven cancers, accounting for about 71 to 80 per cent of cases.

According to one of the lead researchers, Professor Wayne Tilly, the benefits of androgens in treating breast cancer have been long suspected but new technology has now proved the proof.

“Using newer models we have been able to show quite emphatically that activation of androgen pathway is a very effective inhibitor of oestrogen receptor-driven breast cancer … it’s really been in the last eight years we’ve had the models and technology to generate the definitive evidence,” he said in The Advertiser.

“What we are (saying) is if you can add in sufficient androgen to activate the androgen receptor to a level where it can stop the action of the oestrogen receptor, you get an effective form of therapy without actually having to remove the oestrogen.”


Associate Professor Theresa Hickey says, “We provide compelling new experimental evidence that androgen receptor stimulating drugs can be more effective than existing (e.g. Tamoxifen) or new (e.g. Palbociclib) standard-of-care treatments and, in the case of the latter, can be combined to enhance growth inhibition.”

The study conducted in collaboration with the Garvan Institute of Medical Research is published today in the peer-reviewed medical journal Nature Medicine.

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