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Estrogen Lessens Effects of Obesity and Alcohol on Breast Cancer

Nomelí P. Núñez, Ph.D.
University of Texas
NIEHS Grant: P30ES007784, R01ES009145


Obesity and alcohol consumption increase risk for developing breast cancer and fatty liver, a condition where fat accumulates in liver cells. A study performed by NIEHS grantees has shown that estrogen can protect against these adverse health effects.


The researchers used female mice that mimic post menopause to study the effect of alcohol consumption, obesity, and estrogen supplementation on breast cancer. Overweight and obese mice consumed either water or alcohol, were implanted with placebo or estrogen pellets, and then injected with Met-1 breast cancer cells. The mice that consumed alcohol were more insulin sensitive and developed larger tumors than those that consumed water, and the obese mice developed tumors that were slightly larger than those in the overweight mice. However, all the mice receiving estrogen experienced loss of body fat, increased insulin sensitivity, suppressed tumor growth, reduced growth factors, and lessened retention of fat in the liver cells.

Citation: Citation: Hong J, Holcomb VB, Kushiro K, Núñez NP. 2011. Estrogen inhibits the effects of obesity and alcohol on mammary tumors and fatty liver. Int J Oncol 39(6):1443-1453.

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