Some parabens may make Black women more susceptible to developing breast cancer


Some parabens may make Black women more susceptible to developing breast cancer

Black women in the US had a 39 per cent higher breast cancer mortality rate than white women. In comparison to other ethnic groups, black women have a higher risk of developing breast cancer before the age of 40.

Breast cancer risk has been linked to exposure to parabens, which are chemicals used as preservatives in hair and personal care products trusted Sources. However, the majority of these investigations used breast cancer cell lines of European origin.

Few, if any, studies have looked into how parabens affect breast cancer cell lines of a West African origin up to this point.

Developing public health recommendations to lower the incidence of breast cancer among Black women could be aided by understanding how parabens affect the growth of the disease in these people.

Researchers recently looked into how parabens impact the development of Black breast cancer cell lines. They discovered that whereas parabens accelerated the growth of a breast cancer cell line from a Black woman, they did not accelerate the growth of a cell line from a white woman.

According to one of the study's authors, Dr Lindsey S. Trevio, assistant professor in the Department of Population Sciences at the City of Hope, a cancer research and treatment facility in Los Angeles, "the effects we observe on cell growth and hormone-related gene expression in this study give us a clue that paraben exposure may promote breast cancer progression."

The work was presented at the annual conference of the Endocrine Society in Atlanta, Georgia.

 European versus West African cell lines

Two breast cancer cell lines, one of West African origin and the other with European ancestry, were treated for the study with methylparaben (MP), propylparaben (PP), or butylparaben (BP).

To determine whether any effects were mediated by oestrogen, they also gave the cell lines treated with an oestrogen receptor antagonist.

In the end, the scientists discovered that BP boosted cancer cells with West African ancestry but not those with European ancestry.

Additionally, they discovered that in both cell lines, BP and PP but not MP boosted the expression of genes that are controlled by oestrogen, indicating that their actions may be mediated via oestrogen.

According to the researchers, these initial studies indicate that parabens encourage proliferation in both cell lines, maybe having a higher impact on those of West African ancestry.

Underlying processes

Dr Xiaoting Zhang, director of the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine's Breast Cancer Research Program, who was not involved in the study, responded to MNT when asked what would account for the different effects of parabens on Black and white breast cancer cell lines:

It appears that at least some of these disparate effects of parabens may be caused by genetic or epigenetic variations in the oestrogen receptor pathway of these two cell lines, which is a really interesting discovery, according to him.

According to him, "These could include allelic gene variants in the oestrogen receptor itself and/or changes in the expression level or activity of other components of the oestrogen receptor pathway such as transcriptional coactivators, kinases, short RNAs, etc.

The study's authors concluded that parabens may have negative impacts on breast cancer cells in Black women.

Dr Zhang responded to a question regarding the study's limitations by saying, "Since this study only used one cell line each of European and West African ancestry, it will be important to examine more cell lines of each origin to see how prevalent this phenomenon is and to dissect the underlying molecular mechanisms."

He continued, "Further research into its impact will be crucial, not just in cultured breast cancer cells but also in animal models and ultimately in humans.

Dr Trevio responded to a query about how these discoveries can lower the risk of breast cancer as follows:

These statistics help the Bench to Community Initiative achieve its objectives (BCI). To better understand the sociocultural perspective of hair and identity for Black women, the types of hair products they use, and how these products may increase their risk for breast cancer, BCI, which is co-led by Dr Dede Teteh at Chapman University and myself at the City of Hope, brings together scientists and community members.

In the end, she said, "we'll use the knowledge we uncover to design community interventions to assist Black women in lowering their exposure to parabens and other endocrine-disrupting chemicals found in their care items."

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