Estrogen, DNA damage and mutations Article

Roy, D, Liehr, JG. (1999). Estrogen, DNA damage and mutations . 424(1-2), 107-115. 10.1016/S0027-5107(99)00012-3

cited authors

  • Roy, D; Liehr, JG

fiu authors


  • Estrogen administration to rodents results in various types of DNA damage and ultimately leads to tumors in estrogen-responsive tissues. Yet these hormones have been classified as nonmutagenic, because they did not induce mutations in classical bacterial and mammalian mutation assays. In this review, we have discussed the induction by estrogens of DNA and chromosomal damage and of gene mutations, because the classical assays were designed to uncover mutations only at one specific locus and could not have detected other types of mutations or changes in other genes. Various types of estrogen-induced DNA damage include: (a) direct covalent binding of estrogen quinone metabolites to DNA; (b) enhancement of endogenous DNA adducts by chronic estrogen exposure of rodents; (c) free radical generation by metabolic redox cycling between quinone and hydroquinone forms of estrogens and free radical damage to DNA such as strand breakage, 8-hydroxylation of purine bases of DNA and lipid hydroperoxide-mediated DNA modification. Two different types of chromosomal damage have also been induced by estrogen in vivo and in cells in culture such as numerical chromosomal changes and also structural chromosomal aberrations. Gene mutations have been induced in several cell types in culture either by the parent estrogen or by reactive estrogen quinone metabolites. Furthermore, in estrogen-induced kidney tumors in hamsters, several mutations have been observed in the DNA polymerase β gene mRNA. Estradiol also induces microsatellite instability in these kidney tumors and in premalignant kidney exposed to estradiol. Although this work is still ongoing, it can be concluded that estrogens are complete carcinogens capable of tumor initiation by mutation potentially in critical genes. The hormonal effects of estrogens may complete the development of tumors. Copyright (C) 1999 Elsevier Science B.V.

publication date

  • March 8, 1999

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

start page

  • 107

end page

  • 115


  • 424


  • 1-2