NIH News Advisory
National Institute of
Environmental Health Sciences

Tuesday, Apr. 29, 1997

NIEHS Press Contact: Tom Hawkins
Office: (919) 541-1402
Home: (919) 782-3009

Journal Explores Hormones, Environment and Breast Cancer

The influence of hormones, hormone metabolism and environmental hormones on breast cancer is the subject of the April Environmental Health Perspectives Supplements (Volume 105, Supplement 3) of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

Although it begins with a note that knowledge of a relationship between hormones and breast cancer is more than 200 years old, the issue contains the most current research, in papers updated from a workshop at the Center for Bioenvironmental Research at Tulane/Xavier University in New Orleans. The volume was edited by Devra Lee Davis, Ph.D., a scientist with the World Resources Institute in Washington, D.C.

Any member of the media can obtain a copy of this comprehensive survey of current breast cancer research by calling Tom Hawkins, at (919) 541-1402, or Bill Grigg at (919) 541-2605.

In a co-authored introduction to the issue, Dr. Davis and Susan M. Sieber, Ph.D., of the National Cancer Institute, write:

"For more than 200 years, scientists have appreciated that breast cancer cannot arise without hormonal influences. In the 18th Century, the pioneering researcher on environmental medicine, Barnardo Ramazzini, observed that nuns had higher rates of breast cancer and speculated that this might be tied to the fact that they did not have children."

Today hormonal influences that are of concern in breast cancer include exposures to endocrine-disrupting environmental chemicals.

The journal supplement compiles 22 presentations under four section headings: Hormonal Metabolites as Biologic Markers and Breast Cancer Risk; Human Studies on Hormonal Metabolism and Breast Cancer; Effects of Environmental Exposures on Estrogenic Activity; and Establishing the Risks from Xenohormones.

Planning Ahead:
The fourth in a series of NIEHS/National Toxicology Program conferences on environmental estrogens, Estrogens in the Environment IV: linking fundamental knowledge, risk assessment and public policy will be held July 20-23 at the Crystal Gateway Marriott, Arlington, Va., bringing together basic scientists and policy makers to assess the public health impact of these environmental estrogen exposures. For information, contact the NTP Liaison and Scientific Review Office (919) 541-0530.