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Biomed Rep. 2016 Mar;4(3):282-292. Epub 2016 Jan 21.

Occupational exposure and risk of breast cancer.

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1
Department of Biomedical and Dental Sciences and Morphofunctional Imaging, Occupational Medicine Section, 'Policlinico G. Martino' Hospital, University of Messina, Messina I-98125, Italy.

Abstract

Breast cancer is a multifactorial disease and the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women. Traditional risk factors for breast cancer include reproductive status, genetic mutations, family history and lifestyle. However, increasing evidence has identified an association between breast cancer and occupational factors, including environmental stimuli. Epidemiological and experimental studies demonstrated that ionizing and non-ionizing radiation exposure, night-shift work, pesticides, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and metals are defined environmental factors for breast cancer, particularly at young ages. However, the mechanisms by which occupational factors can promote breast cancer initiation and progression remains to be elucidated. Furthermore, the evaluation of occupational factors for breast cancer, particularly in the workplace, also remains to be explained. The present review summarizes the occupational risk factors and the associated mechanisms involved in breast cancer development, in order to highlight new environmental exposures that could be correlated to breast cancer and to provide new insights for breast cancer prevention in the occupational settings. Furthermore, this review suggests that there is a requirement to include, through multidisciplinary approaches, different occupational exposure risks among those associated with breast cancer development. Finally, the design of new epigenetic biomarkers may be useful to identify the workers that are more susceptible to develop breast cancer.

KEYWORDS:

benzene; breast cancer; ionising radiation; metals; night-shift work; occupational exposure; pesticides

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