Steroid Hormone Mimics: Molecular Mechanisms of Cell Growth and Apoptosis in Normal and Malignant Mammary Epithelial Cells

J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2002 Feb;80(2):191-201. doi: 10.1016/s0960-0760(01)00186-8.


Anti-estrogen (anti-E2) therapy with E2 receptor antagonists has a significant benefit in women with breast cancer, but it may also increase the risk for developing hormone-independent breast cancer for which there is no therapy similar to that used in hormone-dependent breast cancer. Therefore, there is a significant interest in the development of compounds that may provide therapeutic benefit for hormone-independent breast cancer without untoward risks and adverse effects. The estrogen receptor (ER) modulators with both agonistic as well as antagonistic properties may, thus, be exploited for the development of the next generation of compounds for the prevention and/or treatment of breast cancer. In this article, we have discussed the clinical indications, risks, benefits and mechanisms of action of ER modulators and related compounds, particularly indole-3-carbinol (I3C), which may open new avenues for the prevention and/or treatment of breast cancer.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Apoptosis / physiology*
  • Breast / cytology*
  • Breast / pathology
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Cell Division / physiology
  • Epithelial Cells / pathology*
  • Estrogen Receptor Modulators / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Molecular Mimicry / genetics*
  • Receptors, Estrogen / antagonists & inhibitors


  • Estrogen Receptor Modulators
  • Receptors, Estrogen