Signiﬁcance of the detection of esters of p-hydroxybenzoic acid (parabens) in human breast tumours
Article first published online: 8 JAN 2004
Copyright © 2004 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Journal of Applied Toxicology
Volume 24, Issue 1, pages 1–4, January/February 2004
How to Cite
Harvey, P. W. and Everett, D. J. (2004), Signiﬁcance of the detection of esters of p-hydroxybenzoic acid (parabens) in human breast tumours. J. Appl. Toxicol., 24: 1–4. doi: 10.1002/jat.957
- Issue published online: 8 JAN 2004
- Article first published online: 8 JAN 2004
- Manuscript Revised: 7 OCT 2003
- Manuscript Accepted: 7 OCT 2003
- Manuscript Received: 30 SEP 2003
- breast cancer;
- hydroxybenzoic acid;
This issue of Journal of Applied Toxicology publishes the paper Concentrations of Parabens in Human Breast Tumours by Darbre et al. (2004), which reports that esters of p-hydroxybenzoic acid (parabens) can be detected in samples of tissue from human breast tumours. Breast tumour samples were supplied from 20 patients, in collaboration with the Edinburgh Breast Unit Research Group, and analysed by high-pressure liquid chromatography and tandem mass spectrometry. The parabens are used as antimicrobial preservatives in underarm deodorants and antiperspirants and in a wide range of other consumer products. The parabens also have inherent oestrogenic and other hormone related activity (increased progesterone receptor gene expression). As oestrogen is a major aetiological factor in the growth and development of the majority of human breast cancers, it has been previously suggested by Darbre that parabens and other chemicals in underarm cosmetics may contribute to the rising incidence of breast cancer. The signiﬁcance of the ﬁnding of parabens in tumour samples is discussed here in terms of 1) Darbre et al's study design, 2) what can be inferred from this type of data (and what can not, such as the cause of these tumours), 3) the toxicology of these compounds and 4) the limitations of the existing toxicology database and the need to consider data that is appropriate to human exposures. Copyright © 2004 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.