Dr Philippa D Darbre patron of CANCERactive

Dr Philippa D Darbre patron of CANCERactive


Dr Philippa D Darbre  

Dr. Philippa D Darbre, Senior Lecturer in Oncology,The University of Reading. Primary field is environmental causes of cancer and particularly toxic causes of breast cancer.

Extracted from the University’s Staff Profile:
Areas of Interest:
Endocrinology of breast cancer; endocrine disruption

OVERALL AIMS are to study the cellular and molecular basis of action of oestrogen and oestrogen-mimicking compounds on the development, growth and progression of breast cancer cells. Research is focused in two major areas as detailed below.

ENDOCRINE RESISTANCE OF BREAST CANCER: Clinical, experimental and epidemiological studies leave no doubt that oestrogen plays a major role in breast cancer and blockade of oestrogen action can be used as a successful therapeutic strategy to inhibit tumour growth. However, endocrine therapy is invaribly limited by the ability of the cancer cells to escape from growth inhibition imposed through oestrogen deprivation and to grow independently of oestrogen. I have developed human breast cancer cell culture models to investigate molecular mechanisms, and studies are currently focused on finding new ways of inhibiting the oestrogen-independent cells which might have therapeutic benefit.

ENDOCRINE DISRUPTION AND BREAST CANCER: The central role of oestrogen in breast cancer poses serious unanswered questions concerning the role of the many environmental chemicals which possess oestrogenic activity and which can enter the human breast. In the modern world, the breast is exposed to numerous oestrogenic compounds through diet, the domestic environment and use of cosmetic products. Studies are focused on determining the cellular and molecular actions of oestrogenic compounds which can be measured in the human breast and on trying to understand how exposure to multiple compounds in the long-term may impact on breast biology. If exposure to complex mixtures of oestrogenic chemicals is a factor in breast cancer development, then a strategy for prevention of breast cancer might become a reality.

Recent publications

1.Pugazhendhi D, Darbre PD. Differential effects of overexpression of ERa and ERb in MCF10A immortalized, non-transformed human breast epithelial cells. Hormone Molecular Biology and Clinical Investigation 1: 117-126 (2010)
2.Darbre PD, Charles AK. Environmental oestrogens and breast cancer: evidence for combined involvement of dietary, household and cosmetic oestrogens. Anticancer Research 30 (3): (in press) (2010)
3.Darbre PD. Underarm antiperspirants/deodorants and breast cancer. Breast Cancer Research 11 (suppl 3): S5 (2009)
4.Sadler AJ, Pugazhendhi D, Darbre PD. Use of global gene expression patterns in mechanistic studies of oestrogen action in MCF7 human breast cancer cells. Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 114: 21-32 (2009)
5.Mannello F, Tonti GA, Darbre PD. Concentration of aluminium in breast cyst fluids collected from women affected by gross cystic breast disease. Journal of Applied Toxicology 29: 1-6 (2009)
6.Charles AK, Darbre PD. Oestrogenic activity of benzylsalicylate, benzylbenzoate and butylphenylmethylpropional in MCF7 human breast cancer cells. Journal of Applied Toxicology 29: 422-434 (2009)
7.Darbre PD, Harvey PW. Paraben esters: Review of recent studies of endocrine toxicity , absorption, esterase and human exposure, and discussion of potential human health risks. Journal of Applied Toxicology 28: 561-578 (2008)
8.Pugazhendhi D, Watson KA, Mills S, Botting N, Pope GS, Darbre, PD. Effect of sulphation on the oestrogen agonist activity of the phytoestrogens genistein and daidzein in MCF7 human breast cancer cells. Journal of Endocrinology 197:503-515 (2008)
9.Gee RH, Charles A, Taylor N, Darbre PD. Oestrogenic and androgenic activity of triclosan in breast cancer cells. Journal of Applied Toxicology 28: 78-91 (2008)
10.Exley C, Charles LM, Barr L, Martin C, Polwart A, Darbre PD. Aluminium in human breast tissue. Journal of Inorganic Biochemistry 101, 1344-1346 (2007)
11.Pugazhendhi D, Sadler AJ, Darbre PD. Comparison of the global gene expression profiles produced by methylparaben, n-butylparaben and 17b-oestradiol in MCF7 human breast cancer cells. Journal of Applied Toxicology 27, 67-77 (2007)


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