UMMS Affiliation

Cancer Center; Department of Cancer Biology; Department of Neurology; Department of Physiology

Publication Date


Document Type



Antigens, CD; Breast Neoplasms; Cell Division; Erythroid Progenitor Cells; Female; Fetal Blood; Growth Substances; Hematopoietic Stem Cells; Hormones; Humans; Infant, Newborn; Insulin-Like Growth Factor I; Pregnancy


Life Sciences | Medicine and Health Sciences


INTRODUCTION: Prenatal levels of mitogens may influence the lifetime breast cancer risk by driving stem cell proliferation and increasing the number of target cells, and thereby increasing the chance of mutation events that initiate oncogenesis. We examined in umbilical cord blood the correlation of potential breast epithelial mitogens, including hormones and growth factors, with hematopoietic stem cell concentrations serving as surrogates of overall stem cell potential. METHODS: We analyzed cord blood samples from 289 deliveries. Levels of hormones and growth factors were correlated with concentrations of stem cell and progenitor populations (CD34+ cells, CD34+CD38- cells, CD34+c-kit+ cells, and granulocyte-macrophage colony-forming units). Changes in stem cell concentration associated with each standard deviation change in mitogens and the associated 95% confidence intervals were calculated from multiple regression analysis. RESULTS: Cord blood plasma levels of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) were strongly correlated with all the hematopoietic stem and progenitor concentrations examined (one standard-deviation increase in IGF-1 being associated with a 15-19% increase in stem/progenitor concentrations, all P < 0.02). Estriol and insulin-like growth factor binding protein-3 levels were positively and significantly correlated with some of these cell populations. Sex hormone-binding globulin levels were negatively correlated with these stem/progenitor pools. These relationships were stronger in Caucasians and Hispanics and were weaker or not present in Asian-Americans and African-Americans. CONCLUSION: Our data support the concept that in utero mitogens may drive the expansion of stem cell populations. The correlations with IGF-1 and estrogen are noteworthy, as both are crucial for mammary gland development.

DOI of Published Version



Breast Cancer Res. 2007;9(3):R29. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Breast cancer research : BCR

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID