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Genes 2017, 8(9), 229;

Emerging Estrogenic Pollutants in the Aquatic Environment and Breast Cancer

Research Institute for Health, Environmental and Occupational Health (IRSET), U1085 Inserm, TREC Team, University of Rennes, 35000 Rennes, France
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Laura Sánchez
Received: 19 July 2017 / Revised: 7 September 2017 / Accepted: 8 September 2017 / Published: 15 September 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Zebrafish: The Key for Cancer Treatment)
Full-Text   |   PDF [2683 KB, uploaded 15 September 2017]   |  


The number and amount of man-made chemicals present in the aquatic environment has increased considerably over the past 50 years. Among these contaminants, endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) represent a significant proportion. This family of compounds interferes with normal hormonal processes through multiple molecular pathways. They represent a potential risk for human and wildlife as they are suspected to be involved in the development of diseases including, but not limited to, reprotoxicity, metabolic disorders, and cancers. More precisely, several studies have suggested that the increase of breast cancers in industrialized countries is linked to exposure to EDCs, particularly estrogen-like compounds. Estrogen receptors alpha (ERα) and beta (ERβ) are the two main transducers of estrogen action and therefore important targets for these estrogen-like endocrine disrupters. More than 70% of human breast cancers are ERα-positive and estrogen-dependent, and their development and growth are not only influenced by endogenous estrogens but also likely by environmental estrogen-like endocrine disrupters. It is, therefore, of major importance to characterize the potential estrogenic activity from contaminated surface water and identify the molecules responsible for the hormonal effects. This information will help us understand how environmental contaminants can potentially impact the development of breast cancer and allow us to fix a maximal limit to the concentration of estrogen-like compounds that should be found in the environment. The aim of this review is to provide an overview of emerging estrogen-like compounds in the environment, sum up studies demonstrating their direct or indirect interactions with ERs, and link their presence to the development of breast cancer. Finally, we emphasize the use of in vitro and in vivo methods based on the zebrafish model to identify and characterize environmental estrogens. View Full-Text
Keywords: endocrine disrupting chemical; estrogen receptor; estrogens; zebrafish; breast cancer endocrine disrupting chemical; estrogen receptor; estrogens; zebrafish; breast cancer

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Lecomte, S.; Habauzit, D.; Charlier, T.D.; Pakdel, F. Emerging Estrogenic Pollutants in the Aquatic Environment and Breast Cancer. Genes 2017, 8, 229.

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