Elevated levels of a protein called interleukin 11 (IL 11) have been found to drive the growth and spread of tumours in women with endometrial cancer. Blocking this protein in lab-based investigations has successfully reduced growth and spread in low and moderate grade tumours, but not in aggressive high grade tumours which have the worst prognosis.
In thi study we investigated whether blocking IL 11 in combination with chemotherapy could improve the treatement of high grade endometrial tumours.
What is the need?
Endometrial cancer occurs in the lining of the womb (uterus) and is the most common gynaecological cancer worldwide. Alarmingly, particularly among women of reproductive age, its incidence is increasing.
Despite this, no screening tests exists and current treatments are not effective for patients with recurrent or aggressive morns of the disease or for young women who wish to preserve their fertility.
What impact will this research have?
Our results showed that blocking IL 11 function in combination with a common chemotherapy drug, doxorubicin, reduced endometrial cell growth and spread in culture dish experiments and tumour growth in mice. The combination is more effective than chemotherapy alone and could be used as a strategy for treating women with endometrial cancer in the future.
"...no screening tests exists [for uterine cancer] and current treatments are not effective for patients with recurrent or aggressive forms of the disease or for young women who wish to preserve their fertility.