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Antiprogestins reduce epigenetic field cancerization in breast tissue of young healthy women

Bartlett, Thomas E; Evans, Iona; Jones, Allison; Barrett, James E; Haran, Shaun; Reisel, Daniel; Papaikonomou, Kiriaki; ... Widschwendter, Martin; + view all (2022) Antiprogestins reduce epigenetic field cancerization in breast tissue of young healthy women. Genome Medicine , 14 , Article 64. 10.1186/s13073-022-01063-5. Green open access

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Abstract

Background: Breast cancer is a leading cause of death in premenopausal women. Progesterone drives expansion of luminal progenitor cells, leading to the development of poor-prognostic breast cancers. However, it is not known if antagonising progesterone can prevent breast cancers in humans. We suggest that targeting progesterone signalling could be a means of reducing features which are known to promote breast cancer formation. Methods: In healthy premenopausal women with and without a BRCA mutation we studied (i) estrogen and progesterone levels in saliva over an entire menstrual cycle (n = 20); (ii) cancer-free normal breast-tissue from a control population who had no family or personal history of breast cancer and equivalently from BRCA1/2 mutation carriers (n = 28); triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) biopsies and healthy breast tissue taken from sites surrounding the TNBC in the same individuals (n = 14); and biopsies of ER+ve/PR+ve stage T1–T2 cancers and healthy breast tissue taken from sites surrounding the cancer in the same individuals (n = 31); and (iii) DNA methylation and DNA mutations in normal breast tissue (before and after treatment) from clinical trials that assessed the potential preventative effects of vitamins and antiprogestins (mifepristone and ulipristal acetate; n = 44). Results: Daily levels of progesterone were higher throughout the menstrual cycle of BRCA1/2 mutation carriers, raising the prospect of targeting progesterone signalling as a means of cancer risk reduction in this population. Furthermore, breast field cancerization DNA methylation signatures reflective of (i) the mitotic age of normal breast epithelium and (ii) the proportion of luminal progenitor cells were increased in breast cancers, indicating that luminal progenitor cells with elevated replicative age are more prone to malignant transformation. The progesterone receptor antagonist mifepristone reduced both the mitotic age and the proportion of luminal progenitor cells in normal breast tissue of all control women and in 64% of BRCA1/2 mutation carriers. These findings were validated by an alternate progesterone receptor antagonist, ulipristal acetate, which yielded similar results. Importantly, mifepristone reduced both the TP53 mutation frequency as well as the number of TP53 mutations in mitotic-age-responders. Conclusions: These data support the potential usage of antiprogestins for primary prevention of poor-prognostic breast cancers.

Type: Article
Title: Antiprogestins reduce epigenetic field cancerization in breast tissue of young healthy women
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1186/s13073-022-01063-5
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1186/s13073-022-01063-5
Language: English
Additional information: © The Author(s) 2022. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativeco mmons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.
Keywords: Antiprogestins, BRCA1, Breast cancer, DNA methylation, Epigenetics, Intermediate surrogate marker, Prevention
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > UCL EGA Institute for Womens Health > Womens Cancer
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > UCL EGA Institute for Womens Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health > Applied Health Research
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10150518
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