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  • Understanding the Pathogenesis and Predicting the Behavior of DCIS (K Anderson, Section Editor)
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Breast Cancer and Dietary Intake of Endocrine Disruptors: a Review of Recent Literature


Purpose of Review

In women, breast cancer is the second most common cause of death. Endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) can interfere with hormone signaling, possibly linking to cancer. Among these, estrogen-mimicking endocrine disruptors (EEDs) infiltrate the human diet and are known to bind to estrogen receptors.

Recent Findings

We reviewed recent literature (n = 13 papers) examining associations between dietary intake of EEDs and breast cancer incidence. Collectively, this sample of investigations suggest a positive correlation, including bisphenol A (BPA) (0.4–4.2 μg/kg-bw/day), phytoestrogens (sum of genistein and daidzein; 1000–3000 μg/kg-bw/day), and pesticides, specifically dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) (0.03 μg/kg-bw/day) and atrazine (0.033–0.0123 μg/kg-bw/day collectively). Evidence for linkages between breast cancer and exposure to additional EDCs/EEDs from dietary intake was weaker, e.g., phthalates and parabens whose exposure routes were dominated by inhalation and dermal absorption.


Body burdens with EEDs potentially causing physiological disruption were demonstrated for BPA (50 μg/kg adipose tissue/day), phytoestrogens (300 μg/kg adipose tissue/day), and DDT (250 μg/kg adipose tissue/day) and atrazine (25,000 μg/kg adipose tissue/day). Opportunities for reducing unwanted dietary exposures to estrogen mimics were evaluated.

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Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance

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Correspondence to Rolf U. Halden.

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Devin A. Bowes and Rolf U. Halden declare no conflict of interest.

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All reported studies/experiments with human or animal subjects performed by the authors have been previously published and compiled with all applicable ethical standards (including the Helsinki declaration and its amendments, institutional/national research committee standards, and international/national/institutional guidelines).

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Bowes, D.A., Halden, R.U. Breast Cancer and Dietary Intake of Endocrine Disruptors: a Review of Recent Literature. Curr Pathobiol Rep 7, 41–46 (2019).

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