State of the evidence 2017: an update on the connection between breast cancer and the environment

Singly and in combination, these toxicants may have contributed significantly to the increasing rates of breast cancer observed over the past several decades. Exposures early in development from gestation through adolescence and early adulthood are particularly of concern as they re-shape the program of genetic, epigenetic and physiological processes in the developing mammary system, leading to an increased risk for developing breast cancer. In the 8 years since we last published a comprehensive review of the relevant literature, hundreds of new papers have appeared supporting this link, and in this update, the evidence on this topic is more extensive and of better quality than that previously available.
Increasing evidence from epidemiological studies, as well as a better understanding of mechanisms linking toxicants with development of breast cancer, all reinforce the conclusion that exposures to these substances – many of which are found in common, everyday products and byproducts – may lead to increased risk of developing breast cancer. Moving forward, attention to methodological limitations, especially in relevant epidemiological and animal models, will need to be addressed to allow clearer and more direct connections to be evaluated.

Source: Gray, J. M., Rasanayagam, S., Engel, C., & Rizzo, J. (2017). Environmental Health, 16(1), 94.
https://doi.org/10.1186/s12940-017-0287-4

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