Keep your cholesterol low!
A byproduct of cholesterol functions like the hormone estrogen to fuel the growth and spread of the most common types of breast cancers,...
The researchers also found that anti-cholesterol drugs such as statins appear to diminish the effect of this estrogen-like molecule.
... the research for the first time explains the link between high cholesterol and breast cancer, especially in post-menopausal women, and suggests that dietary changes or therapies to reduce cholesterol may also offer a simple, accessible way to reduce breast cancer risk.
"What we have now found is a molecule -- not cholesterol itself, but an abundant metabolite of cholesterol -- called 27HC that mimics the hormone estrogen and can independently drive the growth of breast cancer." The hormone estrogen feeds an estimated 75 percent of all breast cancers.
An additional finding in the human tissue showed a direct correlation between the aggressiveness of the tumor and an abundance of the enzyme that makes the 27HC molecule. They also noted that 27HC could be made in other places in the body and transported to the tumor. "The worse the tumors, the more they have of the enzyme,"...
... increased 27HC may reduce the effectiveness of aromatase inhibitors, which are among the most commonly used breast cancer therapeutics.
"This is a very significant finding," McDonnell said. "Human breast tumors, because they express this enzyme to make 27HC, are making an estrogen-like molecule that can promote the growth of the tumor. In essence, the tumors have developed a mechanism to use a different source of fuel."
McDonnell said the findings suggest there may be a simple way to reduce the risk of breast cancer by keeping cholesterol in check, either with statins or a healthy diet. Additionally, for women who have breast cancer and high cholesterol, taking statins may delay or prevent resistance to endocrine therapies such as tamoxifen or aromatase inhibitors. [emphasis mine]