Hormones and the Tumor

(indented text by patients)

Having pregnancy during the watching-and-waiting period can speed up the tumor growth:

A woman wrote to me, stating that she had an MRI scan the day before she discovered that she was pregnant. The specialist was alerted to the possibility of the acceleration of AN growth, so she had another scan at 3 months and this revealed that the AN had grown rapidly. So she had surgery whilst 7 months pregnant, and the surgeon said that the AN had tripled in size.

Here is an abstract about the connections between the progesterone hormone and AN growth (italics ours):

Hormone receptors in vestibular schwannomas
by Carroll RS, Zhang JP, Black PM
Neurosurgical Laboratories, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, USA
(published in Acta Neurochir (Wien) 1997;139(3):188-92; discussion 193)

The possibility that steroid hormones play a role in vestibular schwannoma proliferation has been suggested by a number of investigators. There is conflicting information about the presence of steroid hormone receptors in these tumors. The aim of this study was to examine the expression of androgen, progesterone, glucocorticoid and estrogen receptor messenger ribonucleic acid levels (mRNA) in twenty-one vestibular schwannomas by either Northern blot analysis or the polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Glucocorticoid receptor mRNA was expressed in all twenty-one tumors examined. Only two male specimens were positive for androgen receptor mRNA expression by PCR-Southern blot analysis. Thirty-three percent of the schwannomas (7/21) showed a strong band for progesterone receptor mRNA by PCR-Southern blot analysis; there were an equal number of males and females in this group.  Estrogen receptor mRNA levels were undetectable in all tumors examined by PCR-Southern blot analysis. These studies suggest that the pattern of steroid receptor expression is different in schwannomas than in meningiomas. Individual vestibular schwannomas need to be examined for their steroid receptor mRNA expression mRNA expression to know whether they will be responsive.

Female NF2 patients should avoid hormone drugs:

Two NF2 specialists at the University of Chicago hospital, Dr. Short and Dr. Frimm both agreed that hormones do cause an increase in growth of these tumors...  I wanted to go on replacement hormones for menopause but was told that that would increase their growth rate. Needless to say, that changed my mind very quickly.  My sister lives in Pennsylvania and her specialist in NF2 also told her the same thing. As a matter of fact, she was taking birth control pills and he just had a fit. She noticed that her tumors really went crazy for the two months that she was on the pill and then when she got off the pill the tumor growth quieted down.

[Editor's note: according to the article above, progesterone is probably to blame, and other types of hormones may be OK.]

Last Edited: Monday, November 17, 2003