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Keywords:

  • oestrogen;
  • metalloestrogen;
  • environmental oestrogen;
  • xenoestrogen;
  • cadmium;
  • aluminium;
  • smoking;
  • antiperspirant;
  • breast cancer

Abstract

Many compounds in the environment have been shown capable of binding to cellular oestrogen receptors and then mimicking the actions of physiological oestrogens. The widespread origin and diversity in chemical structure of these environmental oestrogens is extensive but to date such compounds have been organic and in particular phenolic or carbon ring structures of varying structural complexity. Recent reports of the ability of certain metal ions to also bind to oestrogen receptors and to give rise to oestrogen agonist responses in vitro and in vivo has resulted in the realisation that environmental oestrogens can also be inorganic and such xenoestrogens have been termed metalloestrogens. This report highlights studies which show metalloestrogens to include aluminium, antimony, arsenite, barium, cadmium, chromium (Cr(II)), cobalt, copper, lead, mercury, nickel, selenite, tin and vanadate. The potential for these metal ions to add to the burden of aberrant oestrogen signalling within the human breast is discussed. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.