J Environ Pathol Toxicol Oncol 2014 ;33(3):239-45
Helfgott Research Institute, National College of Natural Medicine, Portland, Oregon.
The ubiquitous and detrimental disease of breast cancer requires continual research into new and alternative forms of treatment and prevention. The emerging field of epigenetics is beginning to unfold an array of contemporary approaches to reduce the risk and improve the clinical approach to breast cancer. The information contained in this non-systematic review highlights and expands on the estrogen-based model of breast cancer epigenetics to provide an overview of epigenetic alterations induced by nutrition and environmental exposure. The majority of evidence suggests that various sources of excess estrogen correlate to future breast cancer development. In addition, maternal macro- and micronutrient balance appear to play a role in genomic regulation, and preliminary data suggest that specific superfoods, such as blueberries, have a protective epigenetic effect. Identifying the influence of environmental toxicants, hormonal exposure, maternal nutrition, and maternal disease on fetal epigenetics may have potential for development of new therapeutic approaches for the prevention of breast cancer.