As the use of nanotechnology has expanded, an increased number of metallic oxides have been manufactured, yet toxicology testing has lagged significantly. Metals used in nano-products include titanium, silicon, aluminum, silver, zinc, cadmium, cobalt, antimony, gold, etc.
Even the noble metals, platinum and cerium, have been used as a treatment for cancer, but the toxicity of these metals is still unknown. Significant advances have been made in our understanding and treatment of breast cancer, yet millions of women will experience invasive breast cancer in their lifetime. The pathogenesis of breast cancer can involve multiple factors; (1) genetic; (2) environmental; and (3) lifestyle-related factors. This review focuses on exposure to highly toxic metals, (“metalloestrogens” or “endocrine disruptors”) that are used as the metallic foundation for nanoparticle production and are found in a variety of consumer products such as cosmetics, household items, and processed foods, etc.
The linkage between well-understood metalloestrogens such as cadmium, the use of these metals in the production of nanoparticles, and the relationship between their potential estrogenic effects and the development of breast cancer will be explored. This will underscore the need for additional testing of materials used in nano-products. Clearly, a significant amount of work needs to be done to further our understanding of these metals and their potential role in the pathogenesis of breast cancer.
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