Academic journal article Environmental Health Perspectives

Cancer Collusion? Dietary Fat May Modify Dioxin-Induced Mammary Cancer Risk

Academic journal article Environmental Health Perspectives

Cancer Collusion? Dietary Fat May Modify Dioxin-Induced Mammary Cancer Risk

Article excerpt

Some human and animal studies have linked early-life exposure to the endocrine-disrupting chemical 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) with an increased susceptibility to breast cancer. Dietary fat has been posited as another potential risk factor for breast cancer, possibly acting through the estrogen pathway. A new animal study suggests a high-fat diet may alter estrogen metabolism, thereby modifying the effects of maternal exposure to TCDD and increasing mammary cancer risk in the next generation [EHP 118:596-601; La Merrill et al.].

One group of pregnant female FVB/NJ mice (a TCDD-responsive mouse strain) received an olive oil/toluene blend with TCDD; another received an equivalent volume of olive oil/toluene without TCDD. Their female offspring were randomly assigned to either a low-fat or high-fat diet and exposed to the carcinogen 7,12-dimethyl-benzh?]anthracene (DMBA) at days 35, 49, and 63 after birth in order to initiate mammary tumors. A second cohort of female offspring was treated identically until either day 35 or 49, when morphologic and molecular analyses of their mammary glands were performed.

Maternal TCDD exposure was associated with a doubling of mammary tumor incidence only in offspring fed the high-fat diet. In contrast, no mammary tumors arose in mice exposed to TCDD in utero and fed the low-fat diet. Whereas one-third of TCDD-unexposed litters fed a high-fat diet had DMBA-induced mammary lesions, every litter exposed to both TCDD and a high-fat diet developed mammary lesions. …

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