Good guy or bad guy? The duality of wild-type p53 in hormone-dependent breast cancer origin, treatment, and recurrence

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Cancers, 2018, 10 (6)
Issue Date:
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© 2018 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. “Lactation is at one point perilously near becoming a cancerous process if it is at all arrested”, Beatson, 1896. Most breast cancers arise from the milk-producing cells that are characterized by aberrant cellular, molecular, and epigenetic translation. By understanding the underlying molecular disruptions leading to the origin of cancer, we might be able to design novel strategies for more efficacious treatments or, ambitiously, divert the cancerous process. It is an established reality that full-term pregnancy in a young woman provides a lifetime reduction in breast cancer risk, whereas delay in full-term pregnancy increases short-term breast cancer risk and the probability of latent breast cancer development. Hormonal activation of the p53 protein (encode by the TP53 gene) in the mammary gland at a critical time in pregnancy has been identified as one of the most important determinants of whether the mammary gland develops latent breast cancer. This review discusses what is known about the protective influence of female hormones in young parous women, with a specific focus on the opportune role of wild-type p53 reprogramming in mammary cell differentiation. The importance of p53 as a protector or perpetrator in hormone-dependent breast cancer, resistance to treatment, and recurrence is also explored.
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