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Journal of Cancer Prevention


Journal of Cancer Prevention 2015; 20(1): 12-24

Published online March 30, 2015

© Korean Society of Cancer Prevention

Endocrine-disrupting Chemicals: Review of Toxicological Mechanisms Using Molecular Pathway Analysis

Oneyeol Yang1,2, Hye Lim Kim1,2, Jong-Il Weon2,3, and Young Rok Seo1,2

1Department of Life Science, College of Life Sciences and Biotechnology, Dongguk University Biomedi Campus, Goyang, 2Institute of Environmental Medicine, Dongguk University Biomedi Campus, Seoul, 3Department of Safety Engineering, Dongguk University College of Natural Science, Gyeongju, Korea

Correspondence to :
Young Rok Seo, Department of Life Science, College of Life Sciences and Biotechnology, Dongguk University Biomedi Campus, 32 Dongguk-ro, Ilsandong-gu, Goyang 410-820, Korea, Tel: +82-31-961-5131, Fax: +82-31-961-5348, E-mail:

Received: February 18, 2015; Accepted: March 14, 2015

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Endocrine disruptors are known to cause harmful effects to human through various exposure routes. These chemicals mainly appear to interfere with the endocrine or hormone systems. As importantly, numerous studies have demonstrated that the accumulation of endocrine disruptors can induce fatal disorders including obesity and cancer. Using diverse biological tools, the potential molecular mechanisms related with these diseases by exposure of endocrine disruptors. Recently, pathway analysis, a bioinformatics tool, is being widely used to predict the potential mechanism or biological network of certain chemicals. In this review, we initially summarize the major molecular mechanisms involved in the induction of the above mentioned diseases by endocrine disruptors. Additionally, we provide the potential markers and signaling mechanisms discovered via pathway analysis under exposure to representative endocrine disruptors, bisphenol, diethylhexylphthalate, and nonylphenol. The review emphasizes the importance of pathway analysis using bioinformatics to finding the specific mechanisms of toxic chemicals, including endocrine disruptors.

Keywords: Endocrine disruptors, Molecular mechanism, Obesogen, Pathway analysis

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