Chemicals found in hair products increase viability of breast cancer cells in black women


Trevino L, et al. RF22 | PMON05. Presented at: ENDO Annual Meeting; June 11-14, 2022; Atlanta (hybrid meeting).

Treviño does not report any relevant financial information.

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ATLANTA — Parabens, a class of endocrine disrupting chemicals widely found in hair and personal care products, promotes viability and gene expression of a breast cancer cell line in black women, according to data presented at ENDO 2022.

Researchers assessed the effects of three types of parabens in the HCC1500 breast cancer cell line, which is typically found in black women of West African ancestry, and compared the effects with those seen in the cell line. MCF-7, which is typically found in white women of European ancestry.

Endocrine disruptors 2019
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“The HCC1500 breast cancer cell line may be more sensitive to parabens”, Lindsey S.Trevinoto, PhD, assistant professor in the health equity division, department of population sciences at City of Hope National Medical Center in Los Angeles, said at a news conference. “We have two sources of evidence for this. Butylparaben increases cell viability of HCC1500, but not MCF-7, and increased estrogen regulatory gene expression is more robust in HCC1500 cells treated with butylparaben or propylparaben.

Parabens are common endocrine disrupting chemicals used in cosmetics and personal care products. They are detected in almost all urine samples taken from adults, according to Treviño, and act similarly to estrogen in the body. Although previous studies have shown that parabens can impact the proliferation, mortality, migration, metabolism and gene expression of breast cancer cells, Treviño said these studies were done using cell lines from women of European descent.

“The Environmental Working Group conducted a study in which they looked at products marketed to black women and looked for ingredients that contained the most dangerous chemicals,” Treviño said. “Propylparaben, Butylparaben and Methylparaben emerged as top of the list.”

Treviño and colleagues compared the effects of exposure to propylparaben, butylparaben, and methylparaben on the MCF-7 cell line, primarily present in women of European ancestry, and the HCC1500 cell line, primarily present in women of West African descent.

The viability of the HCC1500 cancer cell line was significantly higher when exposed to butylparabens, while no effect was observed in the MCF-7 cell line. Methylparaben and propylparaben had no significant effect on cell viability.

Exposure to butylparaben and propylparaben increased the expression of estrogen-regulated genes in MCF-7 and HCC1550 cell lines, with a more robust increase observed in HCC1550. Treatment with the estrogen receptor antagonist ICI 182,780 reduced the increase in gene expression in both cell lines. However, co-treatment with ICI 182,780 did not affect the increased viability of butylparabens in HCC1500 cells.

The study was conducted as part of the Bench to Community initiative, a project in which scientists and community members come up with ways to reduce exposure to parabens and other harmful chemicals in products. of personal care. Treviño said this is crucial for black women, in particular, because breast cancer incidence rates are higher in black women under 45 than in white women, and the cancer death rate breast size in black women is about 40% higher than in white women.

“Part of the Bench to Community initiative is educating women, letting them know that a lot of products contain a lot of these harmful chemicals, including parabens and many others,” Treviño said. “It’s about making sure people feel empowered and have the education to make those decisions and decide if they want to change their products.”

Treviño said the initiative works with black-owned businesses to maintain a database of chemical-free products and give women a resource to choose which personal care products to use.

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