Methyl-deficient diets, methylated ER genes and breast cancer: An hypothesized association

Kangmin Zhu*, Scott M. Williams

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Recent molecular studies show that ER-negative breast cancer results from the lack of ER gene transcription due to the methylation of the CpG island 5' to the gene. Because CpG island methylation is an early event in carcinogenesis and because methyl-deficient diets could result in CpG island methylation, it is relevant to postulate that methyl-deficient diets may be a risk factor for breast cancer with methylated ER genes (as opposed to the disease with unmethylated ER genes). This molecular-based etiologic hypothesis may facilitate epidemiological research on the relationship between breast cancer and diet that has been unclear until now.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)615-620
Number of pages6
JournalCancer Causes and Control
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Breast cancer
  • Estrogen receptors
  • Gene
  • Methyl-deficient diets
  • Methylation


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