Hormonal control of alveolar development and its implications for breast carcinogenesis

During puberty and pregnancy, the breast undergoes major restructuring in order to produce a structure that can secrete and eject copious amounts of milk. By analogy to other branched organs such as the lung or the salivary gland, a large increase in surface area of the specialized epithelium is achieved through repeated ramifications of a system of ducts and alveoli arising from the nipple. In the breast, this process culminates in the appearance of thousands of alveoli or acini, saccular outpouchings from the ductal system. This paper focuses on this final stage of proliferation, the formation of alveolar structures and its control by systemic hormones.


    Surgical Oncology, MGH Cancer Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02114, USA.


    • UPBRI-REVIEW-2008-001

    Record created on 2008-01-28, modified on 2017-05-12


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