|MadSci Network: Biochemistry|
Hi there, Megestrol acetate is one of the compounds frequently referred to as an 'anti-estrogen.' Exactly how these compounds work as anti-cancer agents isn't clear, but this is what I understand. Estrogen is a hormone which has a receptor inside the cell. Think of this like a key, with the receptor as a lock. When the key is in the lock, and the lock opened, you can open the door. In the case of cells, the analogous door opening is turning on genes. Often when certain genes get turned on, the cell divides. And uncontrolled cellular proliferation is a hallmark of cancer. So the way an anti-estrogen works is that it's like a key that fits in the lock, but the lock won't turn, basically jamming the lock, and not allowing the door to be opened. The exact genes which get turned on by the estrogen receptor to cause cancer are not clear at this time. Megestrol acetate is used to combat advanced breast and endometrial cancers. There are also reports of using it to prevent spontaneous abortion in the first trimester of pregnancy. Additionally it can help combat the wasting syndrome associated with AIDS. Here are some web links I've found useful in learning about megestrol acetate: http://www.oncolink.upenn.edu/pdq_html/cites/11/11133.html http://www.rxlist.com/cgi/generic2/megestr_pi.htm http://www.aidsinfonyc.org/network/access/drugs/mege.html http://www.cancerbacup.org.uk/info/factsheet/meges.htm Hope this is helpful. -Sarah
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