Effect of Thyroid Hormones on Mammary Tumor Induction and Growth

  • Barbara K. Vonderhaar


Normal development (i.e., growth and differentiation) of the mammary gland is a complex process subject to the influence of many hormones including insulin, growth hormone, steroids, prolactin and thyroid hormones (100). In turn, each of these hormones has also been implicated in mammary tumorigenesis and development (48), (49), (63), (64), (82), (113), (114). Because of these multiple hormonal interactions as well as the ubiquitous role that thyroid hormones play in the body’s overall metabolism, it is not at all surprising that there is confusion as to the role thyroid hormones may play in establishing and maintaining breast cancer. It has been established that altered thyroid status can affect the growth and maintenance of a variety of tumors in different organs (5), (53), (66), (67), suggesting an indirect or systemic mode of action. Whether the role of thyroid hormones in mammary tumorigenesis, if any, is solely indirect, or is mediated directly on the mammary tissue as well, remains to be clarified. Indeed, recent studies (10), (41), (91), (104), (105), (106) have clearly established a direct action of thyroid hormones on the development of the normal mammary gland. But whether an alteration in thyroid status affects mammary tumor risk as well as development and growth is not entirely clear.


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© Eden Press Inc. 1982

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  • Barbara K. Vonderhaar

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