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Stromal Mediation of Radiation Carcinogenesis


Ionizing radiation is a well-established carcinogen in human breast and rodent mammary gland. This review addresses evidence that radiation elicits the critical stromal context for cancer, affecting not only frequency but the type of cancer. Recent data from the breast tumors of women treated with radiation therapy and the cellular mechanisms evident in experimental models suggest that radiation effects on stromal-epithelial interactions and tissue composition are a major determinant of cancer development.

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Transforming growth factor β


estrogen receptor


progesterone receptor


epithelial-mesenchymal transition


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The author wishes to acknowledge funding from NASA Specialized Center for Research in Radiation Health Effects, the Low Dose Radiation Program of the Office of Biological and Environmental Research, United States Department of Energy DE AC03 76SF00098, and the Bay Area Breast Cancer and the Environment Research Center grant number U01 ES012801 from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, NIH and the National Cancer Institute, NIH.

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Correspondence to Mary Helen Barcellos-Hoff.

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Barcellos-Hoff, M.H. Stromal Mediation of Radiation Carcinogenesis. J Mammary Gland Biol Neoplasia 15, 381–387 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10911-010-9197-6

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  • Ionizing radiation
  • Carcinogenesis
  • Stromal-epithelial interactions
  • Mammary gland