Our research

Past research

Our past research has lead to changes in policy and practice 

Breast Cancer UK works with leading scientists in the field of breast cancer research, in some cases leading to a change in policy and practice. For example results from our research on bisphenol A substitutes was used to support the introduction of a new bill by the State of New York to prevent children from being exposed to these harmful chemicals. Our research grants focus on understanding the environmental and chemical causes of breast cancer and identifying what increases our risk of breast cancer. 

Oestrogenicity of anti-ageing face creams

Professor Ana Soto, from Tufts University, Boston, Massachusetts

Breast Cancer UK commissioned a pilot study which examined whether anti-ageing face creams demonstrated oestrogenic activity in an in vitro assay known as the E-SCREEN assay. The research also investigated whether known endocrine disrupting chemicals were present. Five popular UK anti-ageing creams were tested. All creams had oestrogenic activity and contained known oestrogenic compounds; some of these compounds were not included on the ingredients list. 

Download the Summary

 Measurement of UV filters in breast tissue

Professor Philippa Darbre at Reading University

This research measured UV filters in human breast tissue taken from patients with breast cancer.  Four different UV filters were measured in samples from 40 women with primary breast cancer. One or more UV filters were measurable in 84% of breast tissue samples and in at least one breast region for 95% of women. Each of these UV filters is known to be oestrogenic, and their presence in breast tissue suggests a potential for them to influence breast cancer development. 

Project summaryFinal Project Report

Hormone disrupting properties of bisphenols & herbicides

Dr Michael Antoniou from King’s College London

Bisphenol A (BPA) is used in the production of polycarbonate plastics, resins and thermal ink. It is now classified by the EU as a reproductive toxicant and an endocrine disrupting chemical due to its oestrogenic activity and is being replaced in plastics production by other bisphenols. Six bisphenol substitutes were tested for their oestrogenic activity and each was able to promote breast cancer cell growth through oestrogen receptors. Bisphenol AF, bisphenol B and bisphenol Z were more oestrogenic than BPA. 

Project summaryFinal Project Report

Effects of low-dose EDC mixtures

Dr Elisabete Silva, at Brunel University

Low, environmentally relevant, concentrations of four endocrine disrupting chemicals added to breast cells grown in 3-dimensional cell culture caused changes resembling early stage breast cancer. The EDCs tested included a preservative, propylparaben, a plastics component, BPA, the banned herbicide DDT, and a UV filter, benzophenone-3. When chemical mixtures were added to cell cultures, changes to breast tissue was even more significant. 

Project summaryFinal Project Report

Measurement of oxysterols in breast tissue

Dr James Thorne, at Leeds University

Oxysterols are chemicals thought to be associated with increased risk, recurrence and spread of breast cancer. The research developed a novel method of measuring multiple oxysterols in breast tissue samples and in cell culture. Crucially, it only requires a very small amount of tissue; less than that from a typical biopsy. The method used liquid chromatography- tandem mass spectrometry.  

Project summaryFinal Project Report

Testing oestrogenicity of glyphosate

Dr Michael Antoniou from King’s College London

The herbicide glyphosate is listed by the World Health Organisation as a probable cause of cancer. This research examined whether glyphosate could act as an oestrogen mimic which may affect breast cancer risk. Glyphosate was shown to be oestrogenic at high concentration, but not at exposure levels normally encountered by the general population. Glyphosate-containing herbicides were not oestrogenic. Glyphosate-based herbicides are unlikely to affect breast cancer risk by acting as oestrogen mimics. 

Project summaryFinal Project Report

A donation of just £5 can help us reach out to new mums with educational information and guidance on how they can protect the future health of their children.

Donate £5

A donation of £30 can help provide a Breast Cancer Prevention kit to help our Ambassadors deliver talks, providing healthy lifestyle advice and practical tips that can help people reduce their risk of breast cancer.

Donate £30

Your donation of £100 can help train one of our PhD students, who work on vital research which aims to understand the causes of breast cancer and identify risk factors.

Donate £100

Just want to help in some way? donate an amount that feels right for you

Start Your Donation

Donate Now

Make a Donation

Share:

My One Time Donation

I want to make a one time donation of

Thank you. You’re just a few steps away from completing your donation.

+25% with Gift Aid

If you are a UK taxpayer, the value of your gift can be increased by 25% under the Gift Aid scheme at no extra cost to you.

This means that your donation of £100.00 could be worth an extra £25.00 to us, and it doesn't cost you a penny!

My Monthly Donation

I want to make a monthly donation of

Thank you. You’re just a few steps away from completing your donation.

+25% with Gift Aid

If you are a UK taxpayer, the value of your gift can be increased by 25% under the Gift Aid scheme at no extra cost to you.

This means that your donation of £100.00 could be worth an extra £25.00 to us, and it doesn't cost you a penny!

One Time Donation Monthly Donation
Make a donation with Gift Aid

Gift Aid is reclaimed by the Breast Cancer UK from the tax that I pay for the current tax year. If I pay less Income Tax and/or Capital Gains Tax than the amount of Gift Aid claimed on all my donations, it is my responsibility to pay any difference. Breast Cancer UK will reclaim 25p in tax back for every £1 I donate.

Your payment details

Pay By Card
Pay By Direct Debit

Donation Allocation (Optional)

Additional Comments (Optional)

Stay in Touch

We’d love to keep you posted on how your support can make a difference to Breast Cancer UK and the exciting ways you can support us in the future.

Please tick if you’re happy to receive information from us by:

By completing an online donation, your data will be handled in accordance with the Breast Cancer UK’s privacy policy, and the privacy policy of our payment processing supplier BBMS (a Blackbaud company).

Need help making your donation?

If you need help to make a donation or have any questions about making one, please do not hesitate to contact us…

Call 08456801322