Pregnancy and its role in breast cancer

  • Filipe Correia Martins | filipecorreiamartins@gmail.com Dept. of Gynecology, University Hospital of Coimbra, Portugal; Biophysics and Biomathematics Institute, IBILI, Faculty of Medicine of the University of Coimbra; CIMAGO (Oncology, Genetics and Environment Research Center), Faculty of Medicine of the University of Coimbra, Portugal.
  • Maria Filomena Botelho Biophysics and Biomathematics Institute, IBILI, Faculty of Medicine of the University of Coimbra; CIMAGO (Oncology, Genetics and Environment Research Center), Faculty of Medicine of the University of Coimbra, Portugal.
  • Mafalda Laranjo Biophysics and Biomathematics Institute, IBILI, Faculty of Medicine of the University of Coimbra; CIMAGO (Oncology, Genetics and Environment Research Center), Faculty of Medicine of the University of Coimbra,, Portugal.
  • António Manuel Cabrita Experimental Pathology Institute, Faculty of Medicine of the University of Coimbra; CIMAGO (Oncology, Genetics and Environment Research Center), Faculty of Medicine of the University of Coimbra, Portugal.
  • Maria Isabel Torgal Dept. of Gynecology, University Hospital of Coimbra; CIMAGO (Oncology, Genetics and Environment Research Center), Faculty of Medicine of the University of Coimbra, Portugal.
  • Carlos Freire de Oliveira Dept. of Gynecology, University Hospital of Coimbra; CIMAGO (Oncology, Genetics and Environment Research Center), Faculty of Medicine of the University of Coimbra, Portugal.

Abstract

Early full-term pregnancy is the only recognized factor able to prevent breast cancer. There are several hypotheses to explain the mechanisms of this protection, namely an altered hormonal milieu, a differentiation process or a switch in stem cell properties. To explore them, authors have been using animal models, mainly in rodents. Hormonal administration with estrogen and progesterone was the most widely used process to mimic the mammary changes during pregnancy. We have recently proposed that this enigmatic protective role of a full-term birth in breast cancer is carried out by tumor inhibition mediated by differentiated mammary epithelial cells. This explanation may give a new perspective of breast cancer prevention and treatment.

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Published
2011-12-15
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Section
Reviews
Keywords:
Pregnancy - Breast Cancer - Hormones - Mammary Gland - Carcinogenesis
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How to Cite
Martins, F. C., Botelho, M. F., Laranjo, M., Cabrita, A. M., Torgal, M. I., & de Oliveira, C. F. (2011). Pregnancy and its role in breast cancer. Oncology Reviews, 2(3), 141-145. https://doi.org/10.4081/oncol.2008.121

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