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Breast Cancer Res. 2004;6(1):R31-7. Epub 2003 Nov 11.

Prevention of mammary carcinogenesis by short-term estrogen and progestin treatments.

Author information

  • 1Department of Molecular and Cell Biology and the Cancer Research Laboratory, University of California, Berkeley, California, USA. rajkumar@uclink4.berkeley.edu

Abstract

INTRODUCTION:

Women who have undergone a full-term pregnancy before the age of 20 have one-half the risk of developing breast cancer compared with women who have never gone through a full-term pregnancy. This protective effect is observed universally among women of all ethnic groups. Parity in rats and mice also protects them against chemically induced mammary carcinogenesis.

METHODS:

Seven-week-old virgin Lewis rats were given N-methyl-N-nitrosourea. Two weeks later the rats were treated with natural or synthetic estrogens and progestins for 7-21 days by subcutaneous implantation of silastic capsules.

RESULTS:

In our current experiment, we demonstrate that short-term sustained exposure to natural or synthetic estrogens along with progestins is effective in preventing mammary carcinogenesis in rats. Treatment with 30 mg estriol plus 30 mg progesterone for 3 weeks significantly reduced the incidence of mammary cancer. Short-term exposure to ethynyl estradiol plus megesterol acetate or norethindrone was effective in decreasing the incidence of mammary cancers. Tamoxifen plus progesterone treatment for 3 weeks was able to confer only a transient protection from mammary carcinogenesis, while 2-methoxy estradiol plus progesterone was effective in conferring protection against mammary cancers.

CONCLUSIONS:

The data obtained in the present study demonstrate that, in nulliparous rats, long-term protection against mammary carcinogenesis can be achieved by short-term treatments with natural or synthetic estrogen and progesterone combinations.

PMID:
14680498
PMCID:
PMC314450
DOI:
10.1186/bcr734
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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