Medically reviewed by C.H. Weaver M.D. Medical editor
Certain cells in the body, such as those in the prostate and breast, have hormone receptors on their surface. Hormones that naturally circulate in the body bind to these receptors and stimulate the cell to grow. Some cancer cells have many more of these receptors than normal, in this situation, the hormone receptors are said to be “overexpressed.” These cells are particularly sensitive to the growth-stimulating effects of hormones.
Hormone therapy works by either reducing the amount of hormone circulating in the body or by blocking the receptors so that the hormones cannot bind and stimulate the cell. Thus, hormone therapy prevents some cancer cells from growing, but does not directly kill them. Hormonal therapy is used in the management of many cancer types; however Breast and Prostate Cancer are the most common.