There is currently accumulating evidence that endogenous estrogens play a critical role in the development of breast cancer. Estrogens and their metabolites have been studied in both pre- and postmenopausal women with more consistent results shown in the latter population, in part because of large hormonal variations during the menstrual cycle and far fewer studies having been performed in premenopausal women. In this review we describe in detail estrogen metabolism and associated genetic variations, and provide a critical review of the current literature regarding the role of estrogens and their metabolites in breast cancer risk.
Keywords: Breast cancer; Estrogen; Estrogen metabolites; Postmenopausal women; Premenopausal women; Sex hormones.
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