Exposure to the synthetic compound bisphenol-A or BPA promotes breast cancer growth, a new study finds.
When exposed to high levels of the synthetic compound bisphenol-A, the BPA works with estrogen, which is naturally present in the body to create abnormally high amounts of HOTAIR. This, in turn, promotes the growth of breast cancer tumors.
HOTAIR is an abbreviation for long, non-coding RNA, a part of DNA in humans and other vertebrates. This RNA doesn't produce any proteins of its own. However, in its functional form, it suppresses genes that would normally slow tumor growth or cause cancer cell death.
"We were surprised to find that BPA not only increased HOTAIR in tumor cells but also in normal breast tissue," lead author Arunoday Bhan, said in a press statement.
Ideally, estrogen regulates HOTAIR turning its functionality on and off through interaction with molecules called estrogen-receptors (ERs) and estrogen receptor-co-regulators (ER co regulators). However, when a person is exposed to BPA, the compound disrupts the normal function of the ERs and the ER-co regulators, potentially implicating it in tumor growth in a variety of cancers.
Researchers clarified that further studies need to be conducted on this issue as they were not able to find any evidence suggesting BPA caused the cancer growth.
"We can't immediately say BPA causes cancer growth, but it could well contribute because it is disrupting the genes that defend against that growth," study author Subhrangsu Mandal said in the statement. "Understanding the developmental impact of these synthetic hormones is an important way to protect ourselves and could be important for treatment."
BPA is a chemical commonly found in plastic and epoxy resins. Common exposure to this chemical is through water bottles, cups, compact discs, food cans, cups and impact resistant material. Previous studies have linked BPA to problems with reproductive development, early puberty, obesity and cancers.
A study conducted on monkeys in September 2012, found that BPA can lead to birth defects and it shortens reproductive lifespan.
The large number of health hazards caused due to BPA has compelled the U.S. Food and Drugs Administration to take steps to reduce human exposure to the chemical in the food supply. In July last year, the FDA released a regulation that banned the use of BPA in coatings of infant formula packaging.
Visit this website to read up on the health issues caused due to exposure to BPA.
The new study was funded by the National Institutes of Health and American Heart Association and its findings were published online in the Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.