The role of steroids in carcinogenesis has become a major concern in environmental protection, biomonitoring, and clinical research. Although historically oestrogen has been related to development of reproductive system, research over the last decade has confirmed its crucial role in the development and homeostasis of other organ systems. As a number of anthropogenic agents are xenoestrogens, environmental health research has focused on oestrogen receptor level disturbances and of aromatase polymorphisms. Oestrogen and xenoestrogens mediate critical points in carcinogenesis by binding to oestrogen receptors, whose distribution is age-, gender-, and tissue-specific. This review brings data about cancer types whose eatiology may be found in environmental exposure to xenoestrogens. Cancer types that have been well documented in literature to be related with environmental exposure include the reproductive system, breast, lung, kidney, pancreas, and brain. The results of our data mining show (a) a significant correlation between exposure to xenoestrogens and increased, gender-related, cancer risk and (b) a need to re-evaluate agents so far defined as endocrine disruptors, as they are also key molecules in carcinogenesis. This revision may be used to further research of cancer aetiology and to improvement of related legislation. Investigation of cancers caused by xenoestrogens may elucidate yet unknown mechanisms also valuable for oncology and the development of new therapies.
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