Physiological Principles Underlying Endocrine Therapy of Breast Cancer

  • William Leo McGuire


The subject of endocrine therapy for advanced breast cancer is certainly not new. The first demonstration of hormonal control of breast cancer was made 81 years ago when regression of metastatic tumor was produced by ovariectomy.(1) Since then, adrenalectomy and hypophysectomy have been used to achieve similar results. These ablative procedures serve to remove sources of circulating hormones which stimulate or support breast tumor growth. Alternatively, breast cancer regression can be achieved by administering large pharmacological doses of estrogen, androgen, progestin, or glucocorticoid. Historically, the choice of endocrine therapy for an individual patient has been in large part empirical, guided by certain clinical features such as menopausal status, free interval, site of the dominant lesion, and the response to any previous endocrine therapy. Since the empirical approach has been extensively reviewed in the literature, I will not dwell upon it further in this chapter. Instead, I refer the reader to several excellent books and chapters on the subject.(2–4)


Breast Cancer Endocrine Therapy Mammary Gland Androgen Receptor Glucocorticoid Receptor 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • William Leo McGuire
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of MedicineUniversity of Texas Health Science CenterSan AntonioUSA

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