Dairy products and breast cancer: the IGF-I, estrogen, and bGH hypothesis

Med Hypotheses. 1997 Jun;48(6):453-61. doi: 10.1016/s0306-9877(97)90110-9.


Research on the role of dietary factors in breast cancer causation has focused predominantly on fat intake. While some studies have examined associations between breast cancer rates and consumption of whole milk, there has been less attention given to dairy products in general. Dairy products contain both hormones and growth factors, in addition to fat and various chemical contaminants, that have been implicated in the proliferation of human breast cancer cells. This literature review evaluates the epidemiological and mechanistic evidence linking dairy consumption with breast cancer risk.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Breast Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Breast Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Carcinogens / toxicity
  • Cattle
  • Cell Division / drug effects
  • Dairy Products / adverse effects*
  • Dairy Products / analysis
  • Diet / adverse effects
  • Estrogens / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Food Additives / adverse effects
  • Growth Hormone / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I / adverse effects
  • Models, Biological*
  • Risk Factors


  • Carcinogens
  • Estrogens
  • Food Additives
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I
  • Growth Hormone