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Antibiotics ‘can increase the speed of breast cancer growth’

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Antibiotics ‘may accelerate breast cancer growth’: Scientists find possible link between medication and faster tumor growth

  • Treating Mice With Broad Spectrum Antibiotics Made Their Cancer Tumors Grow
  • They noticed an increase in the size of secondary tumors growing in other organs
  • The team said it provides “critical insight” and could lead to a refinement in its use










Scientists have identified a possible link between antibiotic use and increased breast cancer growth.

Researchers found that treating mice with broad-spectrum antibiotics made their breast cancer tumors grow faster.

They also noted an increase in the size of secondary tumors that grew in other organs as the cancer spread.

Despite the seemingly alarming findings, the team said their results provide “critical insight” and could lead to a refinement of antibiotic use in people suffering from breast cancer.

Researchers found that treating mice with broad-spectrum antibiotics made their breast cancer tumors grow faster (file photo)

In the study, researchers from the Quadram Institute in Norwich and the University of East Anglia used a cocktail of five antibiotics, as well as the widely used antibiotic cephalexin, to examine how disrupting a healthy balance of bacteria in the gut could affect breast cancer growth. affected mice.

They found that the use of antibiotics led to the loss of beneficial gut bacteria, which in turn accelerated tumor growth.

Further investigation revealed that a type of immune cell called mast cells was found in greater numbers in the antibiotic-treated animals.

In the study, researchers from the Quadram Institute in Norwich (pictured) and the University of East Anglia used a cocktail of five antibiotics, as well as the widely used antibiotic cephalexin, to investigate how disrupting a healthy balance of bacteria in the gut stimulates growth. of breast cancer.  in mice

In the study, researchers from the Quadram Institute in Norwich (pictured) and the University of East Anglia used a cocktail of five antibiotics, as well as the widely used antibiotic cephalexin, to investigate how disrupting a healthy balance of bacteria in the gut stimulates growth. of breast cancer. in mice

Blocking the function of these cells reversed the effects of the antibiotics and reduced the aggressive growth of tumors.

It is hoped that the results could also lead to new ways to counteract the negative effects of certain antibiotics on breast cancer.

This is important because although chemotherapy is a cornerstone of treatment, it reduces the number of white blood cells, making people more susceptible to infections.

Antibiotics are therefore often prescribed to control infections during chemotherapy.

dr. Simon Vincent, of Breast Cancer Now – the charity that funded the study – said: “While the link between antibiotics and breast cancer growth sounds alarming, we would like to remind everyone involved that this is an early-stage research that is currently only being tested. in mice.’

And he added: “Excitingly, this has already made it clear that by targeting mast cells, we can stop antibiotic-induced breast cancer growth.”

About 55,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer every year.

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