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Why Hormones Protect Against Large Bowel Cancer: Old Ideas, New Evidence

  • Polly A. Newcomb
  • Gaia Pocobelli
  • Victoria Chia
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 617)

Colorectal cancer (CRC) is second only to lung cancer as the leading cause of cancer mortality in men and women, and remains a significant cause of morbidity. Accumulating evidence from observational, clinical, and laboratory studies indicates that hormones reduce large bowel cancer risk. Recently, questions have arisen regarding which hormones are germane, and in what milieu they are relevant. In this chapter, we consider the genesis of this hypothesis, its studies in humans, and biological pathways that might explain recent and past findings, including new genetic and epigenetic mechanisms. Other perturbations in metabolizing enzymes responsible for estrogen metabolisms and the conversion of progesterone to estrogens may be relevant, although specific polymorphisms contributing to variations in hormone concentrations have not been directly related to CRC risk (1). We also provide some new evidence on the long-term effects of hormones on specific subtypes of large bowel tumors, and on CRC mortality, further supporting putative roles for hormone effects.

Keywords

Natl Cancer Inst Microsatellite Instability Bile Acid Secretion Proximal Colon Cancer Large Bowel Tumor 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Polly A. Newcomb
    • 1
  • Gaia Pocobelli
  • Victoria Chia
  1. 1.Cancer Prevention Public Health ScienceFred Hutchinson Cancer Research CenterSeattleUSA

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