Biological Principles of Endocrine Therapy

  • R. A. Saez
  • W. L. McGuire
Part of the UICC International Union Against Cancer book series (1360)


Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in women in the United States. Breast cancer is one of a group of neoplasms arising in target tissues which are physiologically dependent on hormones (others are prostate, endometrium, etc.). The normal development of the female breast requires the action of many hormones: estrogen, progesterone, prolactin, insulin, growth hormone, adrenal steroids, and thyroid hormone. This hormonal milieu will be closely related to the development and progression of breast cancer. Even though it is a heterogeneous tumor, there is an abundance of epidemiologic, experimental, and clinical data supporting an important and indispensable role by endocrine factors (Table 1). Evidence for a hormonal role in cancer comes from oophorectomy-induced regression of breast cancer in premenopausal women (1896), and from castration-induced regression of prostate cancer in elderly men (1941). The precise role of hormones in carcinogenesis is unclear, but might include: initiator, whereby interacting with DNA can lead to the development of the malignant state; promoter, promoting the carcinogenic action of other carcinogens; permissive role, allowing carcinogenic events to occur.


Breast Cancer Estrogen Receptor Androgen Receptor Breast Cancer Cell Line Premenopausal Woman 
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Further Reading

  1. 1.
    McGuire WL (ed) (1978) Hormones, receptors, and breast cancer. Raven, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Cavalli F (ed) (1986) Endocrine therapy of breast cancer: concepts and strategies. Springer, Berlin Heidelberg New YorkGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Pike M, Siiteri PK, Welsh CW (eds) (1981) Hormones and breast cancer. Cold Spring Harbor, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Henderson, BE (1987) Estrogens as a cause of human cancer. Proceedings of the American Association of Cancer Research. The Richard and Hinda Rosenthal Foundation Award Lecture, p 462Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Lippman ME, Dickson RB, Gelman EP, Rosen N, Kaufman D, Knabbe C, Bates S, Kasid A, Solomon D, Bronzert D, Huff K (1987) Regulation of breast cancer development: growth regulation of normal and malignant mammary epithelium. Proceedings of the American Association of Cancer Research, Symposium II, p 470Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Sainsbury JRC, Farndon JR, Sherbet GV, Harris AL (1985) Epidermal-growth factor receptors and estrogen receptors in human breast cancer. Lancet I:364CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Klin JGM, De Jong FH (1982) Treatment with a luteinizing-hormone-releasing-hormone analogue (Buserelein) in premenopausal patients with metastatic breast cancer. Lancet I:1213CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    McGuire WL (ed) (1977) Breast cancer: advances in research and treatment. Plenum, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Campio L, Cuna RS, Taylor RW (eds) (1983) Role of medroxyprogesterone in endocrine-related tumors, vol 2. Raven, New YorkGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. A. Saez
  • W. L. McGuire

There are no affiliations available

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