Science Market Update

Madison Researchers Study Estrogen's Role in Cervical Cancer

Posted by Robert Larkin on Mon, Jun 15, 2015

CervicalCancerCervical cancer is the third leading cause of cancer deaths for women worldwide, with more than 500,000 new cases per year. In the United States, however, early screening and HPV vaccine have resulted in a decline in U.S. rates to approximately 12,000 cases annually.

Despite these advances in the United States, cervical cancer remains a worldwide concern, and research of the disease continues to yield impressive results.

To this end, scientists at University of Wisconsin, Madison have recently made a surprising discovery. Contrary to the prior popular consensus among cancer researchers, a UW-Madison team has concluded that estrogen receptors nearly vanish in cervical cancer tumors.

Madison cancer researchers recently examined the genetic profiles of 128 clinical cases to reach the surprising conclusion. The findings further bolster the understanding of cervical cancer's progression and offers valuable new targets to fight the disease, according to a university press release.

To reach their conclusion, the team analyzed the genetic information from a selection of the 4,000 women who participated in the Study to Understand Cervical Cancer Early Endpoints and Determinants (SUCCEED), which was led by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.

UWisc_Campus"Our top goal is to find genetic signatures that will predict what early stages of HPV infection are most likely to become cancerous, and what stages we need to worry less about," said Johan den Boon, associate scientist with the Morgridge Institute for Research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. "Estrogen receptor is in the healthy cells. But as the cells become cancerous, the levels of estrogen receptor alpha crash to the point of being undetectable."

These results indicate that something crucial is occurring that allows the tumor to survive and grow despite its inability to "see" estrogen. "If we want to understand the role of estrogen, we now have to look at how the tumor and the microenvironment communicate with one another," den Boon says.

For the next phase of the projects, Morgridge and UW-Madison researchers will lead a tumor signaling project which relies on specialized microfluidics techniques pioneered in Madison by biomedical engineer David Beebe.

"What David's group can do is grow populations of cells in a very miniaturized state in ways that they can reach out and talk to each other through tiny channels, but yet they stay distinct," den Boon says.

With research supported annually by nearly $1 billion, the University of Wisconsin - Madison, is the 2nd highest-funded public university in the country.

Recent Funding Statistics from UW, Madison:

  • UW is home to a 1.8 million+ sq. ft. lab research institution
  • UW has a $952M annual R&D expenditure budget
  • UW is home to more than 200 companies, 91 research labs, and 10,000 employees.
  • UW Madison received an $18.1M grant from the NIH for a collaborative study on the molecular processes of viral infections.

6_UWiscHundreds of active researchers from University Of Wisconsin, Madison and surrounding facilities will be attending premier biotech and lab supply events hosted by Biotechnology Calendar, Inc.

This year, two popular events are free for Madison researchers:

July 16, 2015- 5th Annual BioResearch Product Faire™ Front Line™ Event at The University of Wisconsin, Research Park

July 17, 2015- 16th Annual BioResearch Product Faire™ Event at The University of Wisconsin, Madison 

Lab supplier interested in gaining access to UW-Madison’s most active and highly subsidized research labs will be attending these two important events.

For more information about exhibiting, click below: 




Exhibit at  Research Park   Exhibit at UWisc, Madison Event

Tags: University of Wisconsin Madison Research Park, cancer research, Wisconsin, UWiscRP, UWisc, Cancer, UW Madison, 2015, BioResearch Product Faire Front Line Event, BioResearch Product Faire Event, Madison

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