Cancer Active
Cancer Prevention Cancer Treatment Support Us Online Shop
Chris Woolmams / Catherine Woollams
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)

Want the latest news on this?
Print This Page
  Search Website
Follow us on:
Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter

Heal Your Gut  
Part 1:  The importance of the microbiome 

More info? See

CANCERactive Website Appeal

Thank you for helping us to raise a fantastic £19,708 for our new CANCERactive website which will be launched in 2018

Select a donation amount:
Enter a donation amount:

Gift Aid:
So that CANCERactive can claim back 25p for every £1 donated, I confirm that I am a UK tax payer, who has paid over enough tax for you to reclaim this amount

Sign up for icon


Our icon magazine is available free in over 500 UK hospitals, cancer centres and libraries. Full of great articles and the very latest cancer information, you can have it sent to your own home.

Buy online

The CANCERactive Patient Group (CAPG) – Run by Patients, for Patients

  • Tell your Story
  • Start a Blog
  • Start a Diary Blog
  • Start a Discussion
  • Ask a Question

Search Drugs


Quick search for YOUR DRUG here  

Search Drugs


Quick search for a COMPLEMENTARY THERAPY here 

Search Complementary Therapies



Search Alternative Therapies

Important Notice

At CANCERactive we provide information that is already in the public domain.  It is not our intention to provide advice. It is up to the reader to decide if any of the matters to which any article refers might be suitable for them.


Follow CHRIS WOOLLAMS, the UK's number 1 cancer researcher, on his free e-news and keep right up to date with the very latest cancer information and research

 click here

  click here

click here


CANCERactive information and publications (books, magazine and leaflets)

CANCERactive compiled books

Heal Your Gut Heal Your Body

A real paradigm shift - this book will help you really understand exactly what to do to be in great health.

Click here to find out more.

The Brand new 4th edition of Everything You Need to Know to Help You Beat Cancer

"This book is head and shoulders above the rest". Geoffrey Boycott

Click here to find out more.

The Rainbow Diet - and how it can help you beat cancer

"At last the definitive book on a diet to fight cancer". Mrs BS Devon.

 Click here to find out more...

Brand new 3rd edition of Oestrogen The Killer in our Midst

"Learn how to take control of your oestrogen levels"

 Click here to find out more...

CANCERactive magazine (free in hospitals and complementary cancer centres)


Free downloadable prevention leaflets


Buy online

Donate to Us

We can only help people like you - if people like you help us!

Buy online

Fund Raising


Interested? Click here for more information

Click here to see all our fundraising events.

Click here and see what events are taking place and perhaps sponsor one of our supporters. 

Click here for other ways to raise money for CANCERactive.

Or if you want more information about our other fun activities, the Peru trek, our sky diving etc. click the button below.

Click here for our Just Giving page and see what our supporters are doing for us.

Click here for our Virgin Money Giving page.

Buy online

Visit a Catherine Corner

Catherine Wollams

Buy online

Need a Support Group?  

Find a cancer support group near you, now.
Buy online

So what is the truth behind mammograms, drug clinical trials, the PSA test and prostate surgery, and the stories you read in the press?Go to Junk Science to read the unbiased truth. Click Here.


Do you have a problem with our factual content?

If you have research which conflicts with ours, just address it to 'The Medical Board'. Ever since we started this site we have had an 'open-mind' policy and have expert oncology doctors and professors who will address your concerns.

© Copyright 2018 CANCERactive. All Rights Reserved. This content may be copied in full, with copyright, contact, creation and information intact, without specific permission, when used only in a not-for-profit format and provided, where used to publish on a website, that website provides a link to If any other use is desired, permission in writing from CANCERactive is required.
All content and images © Copyright 2018 - Website design and maintenance by a Web design and Search engine marketing company