, Volume 14, Issue 2, pp 181-191,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 30 Apr 2009

Mammary Involution and Breast Cancer Risk: Transgenic Models and Clinical Studies


Postlactational involution is the process following weaning during which the mammary gland undergoes massive cell death and tissue remodeling as it returns to the pre-pregnant state. Lobular involution is the process by which the breast epithelial tissue is gradually lost with aging of the mammary gland. While postlactational involution and lobular involution are distinct processes, recent studies have indicated that both are related to breast cancer development. Experiments using a variety of rodent models, as well as observations in human populations, suggest that deregulation of postlactational involution may act to facilitate tumor formation. By contrast, new human studies show that completion of lobular involution protects against subsequent breast cancer incidence.