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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Modern reproductive patterns associated with estrogen receptor positive but not negative breast cancer susceptibility.

  • Author(s): Aktipis, C Athena
  • Ellis, Bruce J
  • Nishimura, Katherine K
  • Hiatt, Robert A
  • et al.

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It has long been accepted that modern reproductive patterns are likely contributors to breast cancer susceptibility because of their influence on hormones such as estrogen and the importance of these hormones in breast cancer. We conducted a meta-analysis to assess whether this 'evolutionary mismatch hypothesis' can explain susceptibility to both estrogen receptor positive (ER-positive) and estrogen receptor negative (ER-negative) cancer. Our meta-analysis includes a total of 33 studies and examines parity, age of first birth and age of menarche broken down by estrogen receptor status. We found that modern reproductive patterns are more closely linked to ER-positive than ER-negative breast cancer. Thus, the evolutionary mismatch hypothesis for breast cancer can account for ER-positive breast cancer susceptibility but not ER-negative breast cancer.

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