Breast Cancer and Dietary Intake of Endocrine Disruptors: a Review of Recent Literature

Devin A. Bowes, Rolf U. Halden

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Purpose of Review: In women, breast cancer is the second most common cause of death. Endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) can interfere with hormone signaling, possibly linking to cancer. Among these, estrogen-mimicking endocrine disruptors (EEDs) infiltrate the human diet and are known to bind to estrogen receptors. Recent Findings: We reviewed recent literature (n = 13 papers) examining associations between dietary intake of EEDs and breast cancer incidence. Collectively, this sample of investigations suggest a positive correlation, including bisphenol A (BPA) (0.4–4.2 μg/kg-bw/day), phytoestrogens (sum of genistein and daidzein; 1000–3000 μg/kg-bw/day), and pesticides, specifically dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) (0.03 μg/kg-bw/day) and atrazine (0.033–0.0123 μg/kg-bw/day collectively). Evidence for linkages between breast cancer and exposure to additional EDCs/EEDs from dietary intake was weaker, e.g., phthalates and parabens whose exposure routes were dominated by inhalation and dermal absorption. Summary: Body burdens with EEDs potentially causing physiological disruption were demonstrated for BPA (50 μg/kg adipose tissue/day), phytoestrogens (300 μg/kg adipose tissue/day), and DDT (250 μg/kg adipose tissue/day) and atrazine (25,000 μg/kg adipose tissue/day). Opportunities for reducing unwanted dietary exposures to estrogen mimics were evaluated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)41-46
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent Pathobiology Reports
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 15 2019


  • Breast cancer
  • Diet
  • EDCs
  • EEDs
  • Environment
  • Estrogen
  • Estrogen-mimicking endocrine disruptors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology
  • Cancer Research


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