The cancer biology laboratory of Government of India’s Institute of Life Sciences (ILS) has found out a way to challenge breast cancer suffered by smoking or nicotine- consuming females.

Lead by laboratory’s senior scientist Dr Sandip K Mishra, a team of the ILS researchers has experimentally proven that nicotine has a significant role in breast cancer establishment and progression.

This cancer-promoting nicotine, the team claims, can be controlled by targeting therapeutic that has potential to suppress the aggravated genes.

“In our investigation, using nude mice model, – we found that nicotine can regulate one of the cancer promoting genes (oncogene) named Enhancer of Zeste Homolog 2 (EZH2).

We blocked the EZH2 function by using a drug named DZNepA and showed reduced breast tumor growth in the mice model,” Dr Mishra told during the seminar held here.

Findings provide preliminary evidence suggesting potential of high level of EZH2 expression as a prognostic marker in smoking associated breast cancer, he added.

“The highlighted part of the study is that the findings have been validated in cancer samples of the nicotine consuming population of women suffering from breast cancer against those patients who do not have any history of nicotine consumption,” said Dr Mishra. The scientist, quoting a recent report, said as many as 25.8 persons per one lakh women in India suffer from breast cancer.

The mortality is rate is 12.7 per one lakh women. “Among the long list of environmental factors that can be prevented to avoid breast cancer are use oral contraceptives, having no children, no breastfeeding, obesity, physical inactivity, high fat diets, chewing habits of nicotine-containing products such as gutkha and khaini and smoking cigarette; smoking is the factor which is being increasingly prevalent in females in India,” the scientist suggested.