Chapter

Dietary Phytochemicals in Cancer Prevention and Treatment

Volume 401 of the series Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology pp 63-85

Estrogens, Phytoestrogens, and Breast Cancer

  • Robert ClarkeAffiliated withVincent T Lombardi Cancer Center, Georgetown University Medical SchoolDepartment of Physiology and Biophysics, Georgetown University Medical School
  • , Leena Hilakivi-ClarkeAffiliated withVincent T Lombardi Cancer Center, Georgetown University Medical SchoolDepartment of Psychiatry, Georgetown University Medical School
  • , Elizabeth ChoAffiliated withVincent T Lombardi Cancer Center, Georgetown University Medical School
  • , Mattie R. JamesAffiliated withVincent T Lombardi Cancer Center, Georgetown University Medical School
  • , Fabio LeonessaAffiliated withVincent T Lombardi Cancer Center, Georgetown University Medical SchoolDepartment of Physiology and Biophysics, Georgetown University Medical School

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Abstract

Estrogens have been widely implicated in the genesis and progression of breast cancer. Over 200 years ago, the Italian physician Ramazzini observed an increased incidence of breast cancer among nuns. Almost 100 years ago the Scottish physician Beatson described the beneficial effects of ovariectomy on the progress of breast cancer in premenopausal women.1 Nevertheless, the precise role(s) of estrogens and estrogenic stimuli in breast cancer remains unknown. Indeed, it is difficult to provide a universal definition of either an estrogen or an estrogenic response.