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Endometriosis as a model for inflammation–hormone interactions in ovarian and breast cancers

      Abstract

      Chronic inflammation has been implicated in a variety of cancers. In this review, we consider associations between endometriosis and cancers both local (ovarian) and distant (breast). We review the epidemiological data linking endometriosis to ovarian and breast cancers. We then consider evidence for a role for sex steroid hormones and for inflammation in the aetiology of each of these cancers. Finally, we consider that endometriosis may promote alterations in sex steroid hormones and inflammatory mediators. A possible explanation for the association between endometriosis and these reproductive cancers may then be local and systemic enhancement of aberrant inflammatory and hormonal mediators. If this hypothesis is true, endometriosis may need to be considered as a risk factor for ovarian and breast cancers, triggering increasingly intensive surveillance. Moreover, treatments for endometriosis may require consideration of the impact on long-term cancer risk.

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