Endocrine disruptors and female cancer: Informing the patients (Review)

Lino Del Pup, Alberto Mantovani, Amalia Luce, Carla Cavaliere, Gaetano Facchini, Raffaele Di Francia, Michele Caraglia, Massimiliano Berretta

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Pollutants altering the endocrine system, known as endocrine disruptors (ED), may modify the risk of female cancers. The carcinogenic effect of ED on humans has been confirmed by experimental studies for various substances including pesticides, DDT, dioxins, phthalates, bisphenol A, diethylstilbestrol, as well as heavy metals, but it is difficult to quantify precisely for several reasons hereby reviewed. Carcinogenesis is a complex and multifactorial mechanism that manifests itself over a long period of time, making difficult the detection of the specific contribution of the pollutants, whose absorbed dose is often unknown. The combined effect of various substances leads to complex interactions whose outcome is difficult to predict. These substances may accumulate and carry out their harmful effect on critical periods of life, probably also at doses considered harmless to an adult. ED can also have epigenetic adverse effects on the health of future generations. In conclusion, the carcinogenic effects of endocrine disruptors on female cancer types is plausible although additional studies are needed to clarify their mechanisms and entities. In the last part of the review we suggest ways to reduce ED exposure as it is mandatory to implement necessary measures to limit exposure, particularly during those periods of life most vulnerable to the impact of oncogenic environmental causes, such as the embryonic period and puberty.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-11
Number of pages9
JournalOncology Reports
Volume34
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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