β-Glucuronidase levels in patients with fibrocystic breast disease
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Certain enzymes in tissues and body fluids may, through reversal of the detoxification process, influence the composition and availability of steroid hormones, toxins, and carcinogens. The ubiquitous enzyme β-glucuronidase, which hydrolyzes glucuronide conjugates, thereby reversing one of the main detoxification and excretion pathways, was found to vary in concentration in different cysts over a 300-fold range. The distribution was a continuum, devoid of discrete sub-populations. Evidence obtained on selected cyst fluids of high and low β-glucuronidase activities indicated that the level of the enzyme significantly influenced the ratio of unconjugated: glucuronidated estradiol. The patients with fibrocystic breast disease fell into 2 distinct subpopulations on the basis of their serum β-glucuronidase activity. In one group the activity was near normal, while in the second group the average serum β-glucuronidase activity was 3-fold higher than in the women who did not have benign breast disease.
Keywordsbenign breast disease blood cystic fluid estradiol β-glucuronidase glucuronides
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