Researchers have found evidence to suggest that colon cancer may be a disease of hormone deficiency, meaning that hormone replacement therapy could be used as an effective cancer treatment.
Writing in the journal Gastroenterology, a team led by clinical pharmacologist Dr Scott Waldman reveals that a protein receptor on the surface of intestinal cells for two hormones can suppress the formation of tumours.
These hormones regulate the growth of cells in the lining of the intestine, but are not expressed during early colon cancer development.
Dr Waldman, professor and chair of pharmacology and experimental therapeutics at Jefferson Medical College, commented: "Not only does this give a new paradigm in how we think about the disease, but it gives us a new paradigm for treating the disease - that is, by hormone replacement therapy.
"Essentially, this takes the genetic disease and converts it to an endocrine disease, with a hormone solution," he added.