[Carcinogenesis theory based on estrogen deficiency].Orv Hetil 2009; 150(25):1155-66OH
Earlier, estrogens were considered simply the most important hormones involved in female physiology and reproduction. Nowadays it has become familiar that they have pivotal roles in gene regulation of cell differentiation and proliferation. There are many contradictions concerning the associations of female sexual steroids and cancer. Cancers of the highly estrogen dependent organs are in the forefront of tumors as they are regarded as hormone associated ones. However, re-evaluation of earlier results supporting the carcinogenic capacity of estrogen exhibited many shortcomings and controversies. Recently, the clinical studies on hormone replacement therapy in postmenopausal women justified beneficial anticancer effects in several organs even in the female breast. The newly revealed association between estrogen deficiency and oral cancer risk also means a contradiction of the traditional concept of estrogen-induced cancer. Distinction between cancers of moderately and highly estrogen dependent tumors can be based on their different epidemiological features. The vast majority of the so-called smoking associated malignancies of the moderately estrogen dependent organs occur typically in the late postmenopausal life of women when the ovarian estrogen production is fairly decreased. However cancers of the highly estrogen dependent organs such as breast, endometrium and ovary exhibit both premenopausal and postmenopausal occurrence. In spite of the different epidemiological data of these two groups of cancers the mechanism of gene regulation disorder in the background of tumor initiation cannot act through quite opposite pathways. This suggests that in moderately estrogen sensitive organs a serious, in the highly estrogen dependent sites even a mild estrogen deficiency is enough to provoke gene regulation disorders. The new findings both on smoking associated and hormone related cancers might lead to the same conversion; not estrogen but rather its deficiency may provoke cancer initiation.