Mitogenic regulation of normal and malignant breast epithelium

Yale J Biol Med. Sep-Oct 1989;62(5):459-80.


The multiple roles of both estrogenic and polypeptide regulators of mammary epithelial cell growth are reviewed in this article. Effects of both steroidal and peptide hormones are complex and involve multiple interactions with malignant cells and non-malignant host components. Initial carcinogenesis and progression of mammary epithelium to cancer probably require both proliferative stimuli (estrogen, polypeptide growth factors) and genetic damage. This condition may lead to qualitatively different hormonal responses (hormone-responsive cancer). Estrogens can be shown to induce growth-regulatory polypeptide growth factors and interact with them in hormone-dependent breast cancer. Progression of hormone-dependent (estrogen-responsive) breast cancer to hormone independence probably involves multiple mechanisms, including oncogene activation, loss of the estrogen receptor, or loss of hormone responsivity of other gene products. One direction for further therapies may be blockade of hormonal stimulation and interference with necessary activated or induced components of malignant progression such as oncogenes or polypeptide growth factor-receptor systems.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Breast / cytology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / chemically induced
  • Epithelium / growth & development*
  • Estrogens / physiology*
  • Growth Substances / biosynthesis
  • Growth Substances / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Neoplasms, Hormone-Dependent*


  • Estrogens
  • Growth Substances