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Pregnancy and its role in breast cancer

Filipe Correia Martins, Maria Filomena Botelho, Mafalda Laranjo, António Manuel Cabrita, Maria Isabel Torgal, Carlos Freire de Oliveira
  • Filipe Correia Martins
    Dept. of Gynecology, University Hospital of Coimbra, Portugal; Biophysics and Biomathematics Institute, IBILI, Faculty of Medicine of the University of Coimbra; CIMAGO (Oncology, Genetics and Environment Research Center), Faculty of Medicine of the University of Coimbra, Portugal | filipecorreiamartins@gmail.com
  • Maria Filomena Botelho
    Biophysics and Biomathematics Institute, IBILI, Faculty of Medicine of the University of Coimbra; CIMAGO (Oncology, Genetics and Environment Research Center), Faculty of Medicine of the University of Coimbra, Portugal
  • Mafalda Laranjo
    Biophysics and Biomathematics Institute, IBILI, Faculty of Medicine of the University of Coimbra; CIMAGO (Oncology, Genetics and Environment Research Center), Faculty of Medicine of the University of Coimbra,, Portugal
  • António Manuel Cabrita
    Experimental Pathology Institute, Faculty of Medicine of the University of Coimbra; CIMAGO (Oncology, Genetics and Environment Research Center), Faculty of Medicine of the University of Coimbra, Portugal
  • Maria Isabel Torgal
    Dept. of Gynecology, University Hospital of Coimbra; CIMAGO (Oncology, Genetics and Environment Research Center), Faculty of Medicine of the University of Coimbra, Portugal
  • Carlos Freire de Oliveira
    Dept. of Gynecology, University Hospital of Coimbra; CIMAGO (Oncology, Genetics and Environment Research Center), Faculty of Medicine of the University of Coimbra, Portugal

Abstract

Early full-term pregnancy is the only recognized factor able to prevent breast cancer. There are several hypotheses to explain the mechanisms of this protection, namely an altered hormonal milieu, a differentiation process or a switch in stem cell properties. To explore them, authors have been using animal models, mainly in rodents. Hormonal administration with estrogen and progesterone was the most widely used process to mimic the mammary changes during pregnancy. We have recently proposed that this enigmatic protective role of a full-term birth in breast cancer is carried out by tumor inhibition mediated by differentiated mammary epithelial cells. This explanation may give a new perspective of breast cancer prevention and treatment.

Keywords

Pregnancy - Breast Cancer - Hormones - Mammary Gland - Carcinogenesis

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Submitted: 2011-12-15 16:18:58
Published: 2011-12-15 00:00:00
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Copyright (c) 2011 Filipe Correia Martins, Maria Filomena Botelho, Mafalda Laranjo, António Manuel Cabrita, Maria Isabel Torgal, Carlos Freire de Oliveira

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