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J Clin Oncol. 2010 Sep 10;28(26):4038-44. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2009.27.4290. Epub 2010 Jul 19.

Influence of sex hormones on cancer progression.

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The Academic Department of Biochemistry, the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, Fulham Rd, London, SW3 6JJ, United Kingdom.


To review the influence of sex hormones on the progression of breast, prostate, gynecologic, and colorectal cancer. The literature was reviewed in an informal manner utilizing the authors' prior knowledge to collate the current evidence for the involvement of sex hormones, particularly estrogens and androgens in the progression of a range of hormonally responsive cancers. In particular, the effect of treatment involving hormone withdrawal treatment was considered strong evidence for involvement. The impact of basal levels of endogenous steroids was considered. Data from clinical trials indicate the efficacy of therapeutic interventions that result in ablation or antagonism of host steroids for a range of cancers. Demonstration of the correlation of the completeness of withdrawal with clinical outcome together with direct evidence of progression from studies looking at the influence of tissue and circulating levels of sex hormones more recently in conjunction with gene expression profiles all provide compelling evidence for the involvement of steroids in the progression of disease. The involvement of steroids in the progression of cancer in hormone-sensitive tissues is well established and an important target for therapy.

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