A possible link between stress responses and human cancers?

This 2015 UK rodent study found:

“An unexpected role for the GR [glucocorticoid receptor] in promoting accurate chromosome segregation during mitosis.

We also identify reduced GR expression in several common human cancers, thereby implicating GR as a novel tumor suppressor gene.”

One of the researchers said:

“Cancer is caused by cell division going wrong, but no one has previously looked at the role GR has to play in this process. It’s now clear that it is vital.”

From the study:

“Our findings now show that GR function regulates accurate mitotic progression, with clear implications for human health.

Add a previously unidentified perspective to GR action in cell division, affecting mitotic spindle function.

It may be that this action can be targeted by specific ligands, potentially opening up new therapeutic approaches to treat common cancers.”

The Translating PTSD research findings from animals to humans study also found reduced expression of glucocorticoid receptor genes, which appeared in some rodents after stress. Unfortunately, those researchers’ priorities weren’t to research the causes of this reduced expression.

One relevant hypothesis of Primal Therapy is that trauma in the earliest parts of human life epigenetically impairs the proper functioning of human development processes. A follow-on hypothesis is that the arrival of diseases in later life may be traceable back to the damage done during early-life development processes.

An example of this would be that a developing fetus adapts to being constantly stressed by an anxious and stressed mother. When the changes persist after birth, they may present as maladaptations of the infant to a non-stressful environment. These enduring changes may be among the causes of symptoms decades later such as over- and/or under-reactions to stress.

It seems possible that further research in these areas may find links among human stress responses and human cancers. The current study suggested that the glucocorticoid receptor may play a part in these links.

http://www.pnas.org/content/112/17/5479.full “Glucocorticoid receptor regulates accurate chromosome segregation and is associated with malignancy”

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