© 2014

Obesity and Breast Cancer

The Role of Dysregulated Estrogen Metabolism


Part of the SpringerBriefs in Cancer Research book series (BRIEFSCANCER)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-ix
  2. Kristy A. Brown, Evan R. Simpson
    Pages 1-3
  3. Kristy A. Brown, Evan R. Simpson
    Pages 11-15
  4. Kristy A. Brown, Evan R. Simpson
    Pages 17-35
  5. Back Matter
    Pages 43-56

About this book


Obesity is a risk factor for breast cancer in older women. A number of adipose-derived and obesity-related factors have been shown to affect tumour cell growth. These include adipokines, insulin, IGF-1 and oestrogens. The majority of obesity-related postmenopausal breast cancers are oestrogen-dependent. Since the ovaries no longer produce oestrogens after menopause, and that circulating levels are negligible, it is evident that it is the oestrogens produced locally within the breast adipose that are responsible for the increased growth of breast cancer cells. Aromatase is the enzyme that converts androgens into oestrogens and its regulation is dependent on the activity of a number of tissue-specific promoters. Targeting oestrogen biosynthesis in obesity may be useful for the prevention of breast cancer. Aromatase inhibitors are efficacious at treating postmenopausal breast cancer and recent studies suggest that they may also be useful in the prevention setting. However, these compounds inhibit the catalytic activity of aromatase and as a consequence lead to a number of undesirable side-effects, including arthralgia and possible cognitive defects due to inhibition of aromatase in the bone and brain, respectively. Novel therapies, such as those employed to treat obesity-associated disease, including anti-diabetics, may prove successful at inhibiting aromatase specifically within the breast. This SpringerBrief will explore all of these issues in depth and the authors are in a unique position to write about this topic, having extensive experience in the field of aromatase research.​


breast cancer menopause metabolism obesity oestrogen

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Metabolism & Cancer LaboratoryPrince Henry’s InstituteClaytonAustralia
  2. 2.Metabolism & Cancer LaboratoryPrince Henry's InstituteClaytonAustralia

About the authors

Kristy A. Brown, Ph.D., is a NHMRC Career Development Fellow and Co-Head of the Metabolism and Cancer Group at Prince Henry's Institute. Dr. Brown is also an Adjunct Lecturer of Physiology at Monash University. Dr Brown's area of research interest is the regulation of the aromatase gene in the context of obesity and breast cancer.

Evan Simpson, Ph.D., is a Senior Principal Research Fellow and Co-Head of the Metabolism and Cancer group at Prince Henry's Institute. He is also an Honorary Professor for the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and Monash University. Dr. Simpson is the Laboratory Director of the Victorian Breast Cancer Research Consortium. This consortium involves eight medical research institutes and was established in 1997 to conduct world class research into breast cancer. Dr. Simpson's work also led to the creation of the first aromatase knockout (ArKO) mouse, which is a model of oestrogen insufficiency that compares with the phenotype of humans with natural mutations in aromatase. His current research is focused on the role of oestrogen in several important health conditions, including obesity, diabetes, osteoporosis and of course, breast cancer.

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title Obesity and Breast Cancer
  • Book Subtitle The Role of Dysregulated Estrogen Metabolism
  • Authors Kristy A. Brown
    Evan R. Simpson
  • Series Title SpringerBriefs in Cancer Research
  • Series Abbreviated Title SpringerBriefs in Cancer Research
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Author(s) 2014
  • Publisher Name Springer, New York, NY
  • eBook Packages Biomedical and Life Sciences Biomedical and Life Sciences (R0)
  • Softcover ISBN 978-1-4899-8001-4
  • eBook ISBN 978-1-4899-8002-1
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages IX, 56
  • Number of Illustrations 2 b/w illustrations, 7 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Cancer Research
    Metabolic Diseases
  • Buy this book on publisher's site