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Cancer Causes Control. 2002 Aug;13(6):505-8.

In-utero exposures and breast cancer risk: joint effect of estrogens and insulin-like growth factor?


Initial evidence from observational studies led to the suggestion that high maternal estrogens in-utero are central factors in the development of adult breast cancer. Subsequently, several studies attempted to illuminate this hypothesis, but few of the more detailed observational studies show a clear and strong association between prenatal estrogen exposure and breast cancer risk in adulthood. To date, the potential underlying biological mechanisms remain unclear and controversial. However, recent observations of a relation between insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) and breast cancer risk may shed new light on the role of in-utero exposure, early growth, and risk of breast cancer. More research is needed to elucidate this potential mechanism.

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