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Anticancer Res. 1988 May-Jun;8(3):451-6.

Steroid hormones as regulators of the proliferative activity of normal and neoplastic intestinal epithelial cells (review).

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Department of Anatomy, Monash University, Clayton, Victoria, Australia.


Glucocorticoid and mineralocorticoid receptors are present in normal epithelial cells of both the small and large intestine and there have also been contentious reports of androgen, oestrogen and progesterone receptors in the epithelium of the normal large intestine. The majority of reports suggest that stimulation of the intestinal glucocorticoid receptors results in increased proliferation of epithelial cells in the small bowel, as does stimulation of androgen receptors and possibly mineralocorticoid receptors. The proliferative response of the normal intestine to oestrogens is difficult to evaluate and that to progestigens appears not to have been reported. Epidemiological studies reveal a higher incidence of bowel cancer in premenopausal women than in men of the same age and yet there is a lower incidence of these tumors in women of higher parity. These findings have been atributted to a variety of non-epithelial gender characteristic such as differences in bile metabolism, colonic bacterial and fecal transit times. In experimental animals, androgens have also been shown to influence carcinogenesis and this could well be attributed to changes in food intake etc. However, many studies have now revealed steroid hormone receptors on colorectal tumor cells and thus a direct effect of the steroid hormones on the epithelium during and after malignant transformation must now be considered.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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