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Current concepts regarding estrogen and its mechanistic effects on breast cancer in women are evolving. This article reviews studies that address estrogen-mediated breast cancer development, the prevalence of occult tumors at autopsy, and the natural history of breast cancer as predicted by a newly developed tumor kinetic model. This article reviews previously published studies from the authors and articles pertinent to the data presented. We discuss the concepts of adaptive hypersensitivity that develops in response to long-term deprivation of estrogen and results in both increased cell proliferation and apoptosis. The effects of menopausal hormonal therapy on breast cancer in postmenopausal women are interpreted based on the tumor kinetic model. Studies of the administration of a tissue selective estrogen complex in vitro, in vivo, and in patients are described. We review the various clinical studies of breast cancer prevention with selective estrogen receptor modulators and aromatase inhibitors. Finally, the effects of the underlying risk of breast cancer on the effects of menopausal hormone therapy are outlined. The overall intent of this review is to present data supporting recent concepts, discuss pertinent literature, and critically examine areas of controversy. Copyright © 2022 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.


Richard J Santen, Cynthia A Stuenkel, Wei Yue. Mechanistic Effects of Estrogens on Breast Cancer. Cancer journal (Sudbury, Mass.). 2022 May-Jun 01;28(3):224-240

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PMID: 35594470

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