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Previous studies from this laboratory have suggested that 2-hydroxyestrone is protective against breast cancer, whereas the other principal metabolite, 16 alpha-hydroxyestrone, and the lesser metabolite quantitatively, 4-hydroxyestrone, are potent carcinogens. Attempts to directly decrease the formation of the 16-hydroxylated metabolite were either unsuccessful or required such high levels of the therapeutic agent as to be impractical. On the other hand the concentration of the protective metabolite, 2-hydroxyestrone, proved to be readily modulated by a variety of agents, both in the direction of increased protection and the opposite direction, increased risk by a variety of agents and activities. We have focussed our attention on indole-3-carbinol, a compound found in cruciferous vegetables, and its further metabolites in the body, diindolylmethane (DIM) and indolylcarbazole (ICZ), because of its relative safety and multifaceted activities. It has been shown that it induces CyP4501A1, increasing 2-hydroxylation of estrogens, leading to the protective 2-OHE1, and also decreases CyP1B1 sharply, inhibiting 4-hydroxylation of estradiol, thereby decreasing the formation of the carcinogenic 4-OHE1. In addition to these indirect effects as a result of altered estrogen metabolism, indole-3-carbinol has been shown to have direct effects on apoptosis and cyclin D, resulting in blockage of the cell cycle. In addition to its antitumor activity in animals, it has also been shown to be effective against HPV-mediated tumors in human patients. All of these responses make the study of its behavior as a therapeutic agent of considerable interest.