The aetiology and pathogenesis of human breast cancer
1995 (English)In: Mutation research, ISSN 0027-5107, Vol. 333, no 1-2, 29-35 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Whilst investigators have clearly shown that non-hereditary factors dominate the aetiology of human breast cancer, they have failed to identify quantitatively important causes, and prospects for prevention remain indeed limited. However, progress in epidemiological and basic research has taken place during the last few years. Current evidence suggests that breast cancer may be affected by the intra-uterine environment, that exposures during adolescence are particularly important, and that pregnancy has a dual effect on breast cancer risk: an early increase followed by long-term protection. Great variation exists in the structural development of the breast ductal system already in the newborn--and by inference in utero--and a pregnancy induces permanent structural changes in the mammary gland. We suggest that these observations fit into an aetiological model with the following key components: (1) breast cancer risk depends on the number of cells at risk, the susceptibility of individual cells to malignant transformation, and on the degree of cellular proliferation, notably cells which can act as founders of breast cancer; (2) the number of target cells is determined by the hormonal environment mainly early in life, perhaps already in utero; (3) in adult life, hormones which are non-genotoxic, increase breast cancer risk by increasing selective cell proliferation and thus number of target cells and the risk of retention of spontaneous somatic mutations; (4) while a pregnancy stimulates the growth of already malignant cells or cells close to malignant transformation (and thereby entails a short-term risk increase) the dominating long-term protection occurs due to permanent structural changes, terminal differentiation and perhaps decreased cell proliferation and carcinogen-binding in combination.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
1995. Vol. 333, no 1-2, 29-35 p.
Breast cancer, Aetiology, Pathogenesis
Medical and Health Sciences
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-52251DOI: 10.1016/0027-5107(95)00128-XPubMedID: 8538632OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-52251DiVA: diva2:80160