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It is well established that hormones can cause cancer, much less known is how they induce this change in our somatic cells. This review highlights the recent finding that estrogen can exert its DNA-damaging potential by directly activating DNA deaminases. This recently discovered class of proteins deaminate cytosine to uracil in DNA, and are essential enzymes in the immune system. The enhanced production of a given DNA deaminase, induced by estrogen, can lead not only to a more active immune response, but also to an increase in mutations and oncogenic translocations. Identifying the direct molecular link between estrogen and a mutation event provides us with new targets for studying and possibly inhibiting the pathological side-effects of estrogen.

Original publication




Journal article


J mol med (berl)

Publication Date





893 - 897


Estrogens, Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic, Humans, Immune System, Mutation, Neoplasms, Nucleotide Deaminases