, Volume 53, Issue 5, pp 974-979
Date: 02 Jun 2010

The associations between the environmental exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and breast cancer risk and progression

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Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are chlorinated biphenyl compounds with wide applications in the industry. In spite of a ban on their production in the late 1970s, PCBs, as a group of POPs, are still persistent and widely spread in the environment, posing potential threats to human health. The role of PCBs as etiologic agents for breast cancer has been intensively explored in a variety of in vivo, animal and epidemiologic studies. Initial investigations indicated higher levels of PCBs in mammary tissues or sera corresponded to the occurrence of breast cancer, but later studies showed no positive association between PCB exposure and breast cancer development. More recent data suggested that the CYP1A1 m2 polymorphisms might add increased risk to the etiology of breast cancer in women with environmental exposure to PCBs. PCBs are implicated in advancing breast cancer progression, and our unpublished data reveals that PCBs activate the ROCK signaling to enhance breast cancer metastasis. Therefore, the correlation between PCB exposure and breast cancer risk warrants further careful investigations.