Aims and Scope
The Hidden Danger of Environmental Chemicals during the “Windows of Susceptibility” in a Woman’s Life – How can we use Intermediate Biomarkers to Improve Breast Cancer Prevention?Katarzyna Rygiel
It has been observed that many toxic environmental agents increase risk, accelerate development, or deteriorate the course of breast cancer (BC). In particular, endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDC) are harmful to endocrine receptor actions and signaling in the breast tissue.
Usually, there is a long interval of time between the exposure to EDC and BC incidence, and this often represents a serious obstacle for effective BC prophylaxis. Notably, during certain periods of a woman’s life cycle, the BC risk is particularly elevated due to increased susceptibility to some EDC. These windows of susceptibility (WOS) include prenatal, puberty, pregnancy, and menopausal transition stages of a female’s life course.
Four WOS have been considered as the most vulnerable periods for BC since the mammary gland undergoes the main anatomical and physiological transformations at those intervals. This means that during specific WOS, the EDC from the environment can have the most dangerous impact on BC risk and possible BC development later in a woman’s life. However, most clinical BC studies related to toxic environmental exposures have not been connected to the specific WOS.
Therefore, the goal of this article is to briefly describe some important research results, focused on the links between EDC and BC, within four critical WOS. In addition, this mini-review outlines some useful biomarkers for further research and prophylaxis of BC and also for both the research community and the medical professionals.
To bridge the gap in BC prevention, it is essential to recognize the links between EDC and BC within the critical WOS. Moreover, an integrative model of BC research, applying intermediate biomarkers, is necessary to determine the mechanisms of action of various EDC during critical periods in a woman’s lifespan. Hopefully, this will lead to progress in BC prevention.
June 10, 2021
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Urinary Cotinine as a Biomarker of Cigarette Smoke Exposure: A Method to Differentiate Among Active, Second-Hand, and Non-Smoker CircumstancesAndréia G.O. Fernandes, Leonardo N. Santos, Gabriela P. Pinheiro, Diego da Silva Vasconcellos, Sérgio Telles de Oliva, Bruno J.D. Fernandes, Ricardo D. Couto
To review the literature on the use of urinary cotinine as a biological marker of cigarette smoke exposure.
Narrative review of original and review articles on the topic of interest, published in Portuguese or English by June 2018, and selected in the following online databases: PubMed and Virtual Health Library (VHL).
Urinary cotinine is usually the recommended biomarker to estimate exposure to cigarette smoke, and can be used alone or, preferably, in association with questionnaires. Different analytical techniques can be used to quantify urinary cotinine and are differently performed because of urine sample interfering factors.
The precise classification of smoking status is essential. It is advisable to use objective measurements regarding smoking habits since self-reported smoking may not always represent the true smoking status of the individual, particularly in groups that are more vulnerable to omitting the information of questionnaries, in addition, it has possible biases of memory. The accurate assessment of smoking is crucial to improve clinical management and counseling for different diseases as well as the establishment of preventive strategies. So, the use of urinary cotinine as a biomarker of cigarette smoke exposure seems to be a suitable assay to distinguish non-smokers from passive and active smokers.
July 31, 2020
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