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Study: Paxil Could Promote Breast Tumor Growth In Women

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File photo of anti-depressants. (credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

File photo of anti-depressants. (credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

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ATLANTA (CBS Atlanta) – A new study has led researchers to believe that the commonly prescribed anti-depressant Paxil could promote tumor growth in female breast tissue.

According to a press release, researchers at City of Hope who coordinated the study found that paroxetine, known by many as Paxil, acted as an estrogen promoter.

“The paroxetine finding helps explain previous studies showing that it reduces tamoxifen therapy’s effectiveness,” study lead author Shiuan Chen, Ph.D., professor and chair of City of Hope’s Department of Cancer Biology, was quoted as saying. “And it has implications for patients with estrogen-sensitive breast cancer who are on other medications.”

The study is especially important as women who suffer from breast cancer sometimes require treatment for depression, and because the growth of approximately 70 percent of breast cancers in women is aided by the presence of estrogen, according to the press release.

Researchers screened multiple drugs that are widely used and circulated to figure out their impact, if any, on estrogen production. The team involved in the study feels this method could be perfected for the purpose of figuring out which drugs will be most and least beneficial to cancer patients.

Said Chen, “[I]t makes sense to develop this test, which can assess many chemicals at once, to help us quickly identify which environmental compounds are disrupting estrogen functions.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta have said that breast cancer is the most common cancer in all women. In 2010 – the most recent year for which statistics were available – 206,966 women were diagnosed with breast cancer. Of them, 40,996 died from the disease.

The release noted that the study was supported by the California Breast Cancer Research Program.

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