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Journal of Cancer Prevention


J Cancer Prev 2021; 26(1): 18-24

Published online March 30, 2021

© Korean Society of Cancer Prevention

Understanding the Mechanistic Link between Bisphenol A and Cancer Stem Cells: A Cancer Prevention Perspective

Cassandra Winz1,2 , Nanjoo Suh1,3

1Department of Chemical Biology, Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy, 2Toxicology Graduate Program, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Piscataway, NJ, USA, 3Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, New Brunswick, NJ, USA

Correspondence to :
Nanjoo Suh, E-mail:,

Received: February 21, 2021; Revised: March 6, 2021; Accepted: March 8, 2021

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


Endocrine disruptors, such as bisphenol A (BPA), have become more frequently present in the environment as contaminants, especially in industrialized countries. Long-term effects of these environmental contaminants in humans are elusive. With their structural similarity to estrogen, many environmental contaminants including BPA, have been shown to mimic the biological functions of estrogen, potentially contributing to the development of breast cancer. It has been well established that BPA exerts estrogenic activity in animal models and in vitro systems. There is a concern for adverse effects from the exposure to BPA in regard to developmental and reproductive toxicities. However, the mechanisms by which BPA promotes breast cancer development remain unknown. Understanding the role of endocrine disruptors and their key mechanisms of action is important for public health, especially by providing a foundation for a better intervention approach in cancer prevention.

Keywords: Breast cancer, Cancer stem cells, Endocrine disruptors, Estrogen receptor

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