Sex and growth hormones are positively associated with postmenopausal breast cancer risk. However, few studies have evaluated the influence of multiple hormones simultaneously.
We considered the roles of estrone, estradiol, estrone sulfate, testosterone, androstenedione, dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), DHEA sulfate and prolactin and, secondarily, insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) and c-peptide in postmenopausal breast cancer risk among 265 cases and 541 controls in the prospective Nurses' Health Study. We created several hormone scores, including ranking women by the number of hormones above the age- and batch-adjusted geometric mean and weighting hormone values by their individual associations with breast cancer risk.
Women in the top versus bottom quintile of individual estrogen or androgen levels had approximately a doubling of postmenopausal breast cancer risk. Having seven or eight compared to zero hormones above the geometric mean level was associated with total (RR = 2.7, 95% CI = 1.3 to 5.7, P trend < 0.001) and estrogen receptor (ER)-positive (RR = 3.4, 95% CI = 1.3 to 9.4, P trend < 0.001) breast cancer risk. When comparing the top versus bottom quintiles of the score weighted by individual hormone associations, the RR for total breast cancer was 3.0 (95% CI = 1.8 to 5.0, P trend < 0.001) and the RR for ER-positive disease was 3.9 (95% CI = 2.0 to 7.5, P trend < 0.001). The risk further increased when IGF-1 and c-peptide were included in the scores. The results did not change with adjustment for body mass index.
Overall, the results of our study suggest that multiple hormones with high circulating levels substantially increase the risk of breast cancer, particularly ER-positive disease. Additional research should consider the potential impact of developing risk prediction scores that incorporate multiple hormones.
Birth characteristics and adult hormone concentrations influence breast cancer risk, but little is known about the influence of birth characteristics on hormone concentrations, particularly during adolescence.
We evaluated the association of birth characteristics (birth weight, birth length, and gestational age) with serum sex hormone concentrations during late childhood and adolescence in 278 female participants of the Dietary Intervention Study in Children. Repeated measures analysis of variance models were used to assess the relationships of birth characteristics and serum estrogens and androgens at five different time points over a mean period of 7 years.
In analyses that did not take into account time from blood draw until menarche, birth weight was inversely associated with pre-menarche concentrations of estradiol, estrone sulfate, androstenedione, testosterone, and dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS). In the post-menarche analyses, birth weight was not significantly associated with concentration of any of the hormones under investigation. Birth length and gestational age were not associated with hormone concentrations before or after menarche.
Birth weight is inversely associated with sex hormone concentrations before menarche in the model unadjusted for time from blood draw until menarche.
The in utero environment has long-term influences on the hormonal milieu, which could potentially contribute to breast cancer risk.
Birth weight; Sex steroid hormones; Breast cancer risk factors; Adolescence; Puberty
The secretion of androgens and estrogens by normal and abnormal testes was compared by determining the concentrations of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), androstenedione (Δ4A), testosterone (T), estrone (E1), and 17β-estradiol (E2) in peripheral and spermatic venous plasma samples from 14 normal men and 5 men with unilateral testicular atrophy. Four normal men and one patient with unilateral atrophy of the testis were given human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) before surgery. Plasma estrogens were determined by radioimmunoassay; plasma androgens were measured by the double-isotope dilution derivative technique. Peripheral concentrations of these steroids before and after HCG were similar in both the normal men and the patients with unilateral testicular atrophy. In normal men, the mean ±SE spermatic venous concentrations were DHEA, 73.1±11.7 ng/ml; Δ4A, 30.7±7.9 ng/ml; T, 751±114 ng/ml; E1, 306±55 pg/ml; and E2, 1298±216 pg/ml. Three of four subjects with unilateral testicular atrophy had greatly diminished spermatic venous levels of androgens and estrogens. HCG treatment increased the testicular secretion of DHEA and T fivefold, Δ4A threefold, E1 sixfold, and E2 eightfold in normal men. In the single subject with an atrophic testis who received HCG, the spermatic venous concentrations of androgens and estrogens were much less than in normal men similarly treated. We conclude that: (a) E1 is secreted by the human testis, but testicular secretion of E1 accounts for less than 5% of E1 production in normal men; (b) HCG stimulation produces increases in spermatic venous estrogens equal to or greater than the changes in androgens, including testosterone; and (c) strikingly decreased secretion of androgen and estrogen by unilateral atrophic human tests cannot be appreciated by analyses of peripheral steroid concentrations.
In 1983–87, we conducted a population-based case–control study of breast cancer in Asian women living in California and Hawaii, in which migration history (a composite of the subject's place of birth, usual residence in Asia (urban/rural), length of time living in the West, and grandparents' place of birth) was associated with a six-fold risk gradient that paralleled the historical differences in incidence rates between the US and Asian countries. This provided the opportunity to determine whether endogenous hormones vary with migration history in Asian-American women. Plasma obtained from 316 premenopausal and 177 naturally premenopausal study controls was measured for levels of estrone (E1), estradiol (E2), estrone sulphate (E1S), androstenedione (A), testosterone (T), dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), dehydroepiandrosterone sulphate (DHEAS), progesterone (PROG) and sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG). Levels of the oestrogens and sex hormone-binding globulin did not differ significantly between Asian- and Western-born women, although among premenopausal women, those least westernised had the lowest levels of E1, E2, and E1S. Androgen levels, particularly DHEA, were lower in women born in the West. Among premenopausal women, age-adjusted geometric mean levels of DHEA were 16.5 and 13.8 nmol l−1 in Asian- and Western-born women respectively; in postmenopausal women these values were 11.8 and 9.2 nmol l−1, (P<0.001) respectively. Among postmenopausal women, androgens tended to be highest among the least westernised women and declined as the degree of westernisation increased. Our findings suggest that aspects of hormone metabolism play a role in population differences in breast cancer incidence.
British Journal of Cancer (2002) 87, 54–60. doi:10.1038/sj.bjc.6600339 www.bjcancer.com
© 2002 Cancer Research UK
Asian-American; oestrogen; androgen; breast cancer; migration
Sertoli-Leydig cell tumors (SLCTs) are rare tumors mostly occurring in young women. Here we report an unusual case of a SLCT with simultaneous occurrence of endometrioid adenocarcinoma of the endometrium in a woman in menopause.
A 67-year-old woman presented with progressive signs of virilization. Blood tests showed increased levels of testosterone, delta-4-androstenedione, and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA). DHEA-sulphate, 17β-estradiol, estrone, and sex-hormone binding globulin serum levels were within the normal range. Magnetic resonance imaging revealed a solid mass of 2.7 × 2.9 cm in the right ovary set against the background of the uterus. The patient underwent bilateral salpingo-oophoretomy with hysterectomy. The mass in the right ovary was a differentiated SLCT. Incidentally, the endometrium revealed an endometrioid adenocacinoma. Following surgical treatment the plasma androgens dropped to normal levels, and signs and symptoms of virilization improved.
SLCT should be suspected in postmenopausal women who present rapid progressive androgen excess symptoms with hyperandrogenemia.
ovarian cancer; hyperandrogenism; virilization; Sertoli-Leydig tumor; endometrial cancer
In synovial cells of patients with osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA), conversion products of major anti-inflammatory androgens are as yet unknown but may be proinflammatory. Therefore, therapy with androgens in RA could be a problem. This study was carried out in order to compare conversion products of androgens in RA and OA synoviocytes. In 26 OA and 24 RA patients, androgen conversion in synovial cells was investigated using radiolabeled substrates and analysis by thin-layer chromatography and HPLC. Aromatase expression was studied by immunohistochemistry. Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) was converted into androstenediol, androstenedione (ASD), 16αOH-DHEA, 7αOH-DHEA, testosterone, estrone (E1), estradiol (E2), estriol (E3), and 16αOH-testosterone (similar in OA and RA). Surprisingly, levels of E2, E3, and 16α-hydroxylated steroids were as high as levels of testosterone. In RA and OA, 5α-dihydrotestosterone increased conversion of DHEA into testosterone but not into estrogens. The second androgen, ASD, was converted into 5α-dihydro-ASD, testosterone, and negligible amounts of E1, E2, E3, or 16αOH-testosterone. 5α-dihydro-ASD levels were higher in RA than OA. The third androgen, testosterone, was converted into ASD, 5α-dihydro-ASD, 5α-dihydrotestosterone, and negligible quantities of E1 and E2. 5α-dihydrotestosterone was higher in RA than OA. ASD and testosterone nearly completely blocked aromatization of androgens. In addition, density of aromatase-positive cells and concentration of released E2, E3, and free testosterone from superfused synovial tissue was similar in RA and OA but estrogens were markedly higher than free testosterone. In conclusion, ASD and testosterone might be favorable anti-inflammatory compounds because they decrease aromatization and increase anti-inflammatory 5α-reduced androgens. In contrast, DHEA did not block aromatization but yielded high levels of estrogens and proproliferative 16α-hydroxylated steroids. Androgens were differentially converted to pro- and anti-inflammatory steroid hormones via diverse pathways.
Men show higher rates of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality than pre-menopausal women and this sexual dimorphism may be related to sex-specific effects of sex steroids on cardiovascular risk factors. Unlike androgens, estrogens were not extensively investigated in relation to cardiovascular phenotypes in men.
We examined associations of estradiol and estrone and their precursors (total testosterone and androstenedione) with traditional cardiovascular risk factors (lipids, blood pressure, body mass) in 933 young (median age – 19 years), apparently healthy Polish men.
Total estradiol was associated with total cholesterol (p=0.006) and HDL-cholesterol (p<0.001) and estrone showed the strongest associations with both total cholesterol (p<0.001) and LDL-cholesterol (p<0.001) in the unadjusted ANOVA analysis. In the multivariable adjusted models in which other independent variables were held as constant one standard deviation increase in estradiol level was associated with 6%-standard deviation increase in total cholesterol (standardized B=0.06, p=0.038) and 6%-standard deviation decrease in HDL-cholesterol (standardized B=-0.06, p=0.036). An increase in estrone levels by one standard deviation was associated with respective 12%- and 13%-standard deviation increases in total cholesterol (standardized B=0.12, p<0.001) and LDL-cholesterol levels (standardized B=0.12, p<0.001) after controlling for other predictors of lipids. Estrone correlated linearly with androstenedione (r=0.28, p<0.001) but there was no correlation between estradiol and testosterone. Estrogens retained their independent associations with lipids after adjustment for their biochemical precursors in the multivariable analysis.
Increased levels of estrogens are associated with unfavourable lipid profile in men and that this association is apparent early in life, before cardiovascular disease manifestations.
lipids; estrogens; sex steroids; association; risk factors
We evaluated the comparative effects of aminoglutethimide (AG) on androgen and estrogen levels estrone ([E1], estradiol [E2], plasma dehydroepiandrosterone-sulfate [DHEA-S], testosterone [T], dihydrotestosterone [DHT], delta 4-androstenedione [delta 4-A]), follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH), and prolactin in postmenopausal patients with breast cancer randomly allocated to either AG treatment or bilateral surgical adrenalectomy as a control group. In response to either treatment, the plasma levels of E1 fell 62-75% (P less than 0.001) and urine E1 85.7-88.7% (P less than 0.001) in all study days over a 12-wk period. Similarly, the concentrations of E2 in plasma and urine fell 40-72% without statistically significant differences between the two treatment modalities. The relatively weak androgen, DHEA-S, was reduced by 92% (877.3 +/- 184.6 to 71.8 +/- 14.5 ng/ml) at 12 wk in women treated with AG, but suppressed nearly 99% (1,151 +/- 262 to 5.8 +/- 3.3 ng/ml) in adrenalectomized women. At all time points after treatment, the DHEA-S levels were significantly higher in patients receiving AG. Plasma concentrations of the potent androgens, T and DHT, were also relatively preserved during AG treatment. T levels were never significantly reduced by AG, and DHT concentrations were decreased only at the 4th wk to a maximum of 20%. delta 4-A levels fell 56% in response to this drug only on the 12th wk of therapy (basal, 0.79 +/- 0.09 ng/ml; 12 wk, 0.35 +/- 0.07 ng/ml). In marked contrast, all androgens fell significantly at each time period in response to surgical adrenalectomy, with an 81% maximum suppression of T, 73% of DHT, and 97% of delta 4-A. In response to estrogen suppression, plasma levels of FSH, LH, and prolactin did not change significantly throughout the treatment period in either therapy group. To examine possible contributions of the postmenopausal ovary to hormone levels during therapy, data from surgically castrate and spontaneously menopausal women were evaluated separately. No significant differences between the two groups were observed for E1, E2, T, DHT, DHEA-S, delta 4-A, LH, FSH, and prolactin. We conclude that equivalent and highly significant estrogen suppression occurs with either AG or surgical adrenalectomy although androgen secretion is preserved during AG treatment but not after surgical adrenalectomy. The combined effects of estrogen deprivation associated with androgen preservation might be significant in the therapeutic action of AG in hormone-responsive neoplasms.
To add to the existing evidence, which comes mostly from within White populations, we conducted a nested case-control study within the Multiethnic Cohort to examine the association between circulating sex hormones and breast cancer risk among postmenopausal women. Of the women who had a plasma sample, 129 women developed breast cancer during follow-up. Two controls per case, matched on area (Hawaii, Los Angeles), ethnicity/race (Japanese American, White, Native Hawaiian, African American, Latina), birth year, date of blood draw and time fasting, were selected from the women who had not developed breast cancer. Levels of estradiol, estrone, androstenedione, dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and testosterone were quantified with radioimmunoassay after organic extraction and Celite column chromatography separation. Estrone sulfate, dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS), and sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) were quantified by direct immunoassays. As estimated with conditional logistic regression, the sex hormones were positively associated and SHBG was negatively associated with breast cancer risk. All associations, except those with DHEAS and testosterone showed a significant linear trend. The odds ratio associated with a doubling of estradiol was 2.29 (95% confidence interval (CI) 1.58–2.35) and the odds ratio associated with a doubling of testosterone was 1.35 (95% CI 0.98–1.82). The associations in Japanese American women, who constituted 54% of our sample, were similar or slightly qualitatively stronger than in those of other ethnicity/race. This study supports previous evidence of an association between sex hormones and breast cancer risk and suggests that the associations are similar in Japanese American women.
estrogens; androgens; blood; breast cancer; postmenopausal; nested case-control
There are few reported data on biochemical and functional correlates of androgen levels in African-American men. This study aimed at reporting physical and biochemical correlates of serum total testosterone (total T), bioavailable testosterone (BT) and dehydroepiandrosterone-sulphate (DHEAS) levels in community-dwelling, African-American men aged 50–65 years. Home-based physical examinations and health status questionnaires were administered to randomly sampled men. Body composition (dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry), lower limb and hand-grip muscle strength, and neuropsychological functions were assessed. Levels of serum total T, BT, DHEAS, oestradiol (E2), adiponectin, leptin, triglycerides and glucose were measured. Multiple linear regression models were constructed to identify factors independently associated with androgen levels. DHEAS levels declined from age 50 to 65 years (p < 0.0001), but total T and BT levels remained constant. Independent of other associated factors, higher total T levels were associated with lower serum triglyceride levels (β = −0.142, p = 0.049); higher BT was associated with better performance on the trail-making tests (TMT-B:TMT-A ratio: β = −0.118, p = 0.024) and higher DHEAS levels were associated with lower adiponectin (β = −0.293, p = 0.047) and higher mini-mental state examination (MMSE) score (β = 0.098, p = 0.008). Multiple regression models predicted 21, 18 and 29% of variance in total T, BT and DHEAS, respectively. Higher total T levels were associated with serum metabolic markers, particularly lower triglycerides, whereas higher BT was associated with better cognitive and muscle function and DHEAS with lower adiponectin and higher MMSE scores
Aging male; African-Americans; Testosterone; cognitive function; muscle function
The multidrug resistance-associated protein 1 (MRP1/ABCC1) is a member of the ABC active transporter family that can transport several steroid hormone conjugates, including 17β-estradiol glucuronide, dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS), and estrone 3-sulfate. The present study investigated the role that MRP1 plays in maintaining proper hormone levels in the serum and testes. Serum and testicular steroid hormone levels were examined in both wild-type mice and Mrp1 null mice. Serum testosterone levels were reduced 5-fold in mice lacking Mrp1, while testicular androstenedione, testosterone, estradiol, and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) were significantly reduced by 1.7- to 4.5-fold in Mrp1 knockout mice. Investigating the mechanisms responsible for the reduction in steroid hormones in Mrp1-/- mice revealed no differences in the expression or activity of enzymes that inactivate steroids, the sulfotransferases or glucuronosyltransferases. However, steroid biosynthetic enzyme levels in the testes were altered. Cyp17 protein levels were increased by 1.6-fold, while Cyp17 activity using progesterone as a substrate was also increased by 1.4-2.0-fold in mice lacking Mrp1. Additionally, the ratio of 17β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase to 3β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase, and steroidogenic factor 1 to 3βhydroxysteroid dehydrogenase were significantly increased in the testes of Mrp1-/- mice. These results indicate that Mrp1-/- mice have lowered steroid hormones levels, and suggests that upregulation of steroid biosynthetic enzymes may be an attempt to maintain proper steroid hormone homeostasis.
Multidrug resistance-associated protein 1; ATP-binding cassette; testosterone; androstenedione; testes; Cyp17; 17β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase
Background: In rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), patients demonstrate low levels of adrenal hormones.
Objective: To investigate whether increased renal clearance and daily excretion contribute to this phenomenon.
Methods: Thirty patients with RA, 32 with SLE, and 54 healthy subjects (HS) participated. Serum and urinary levels of cortisol, cortisone, 17-hydroxyprogesterone (17OHP), androstenedione, dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), and DHEA sulphate (DHEAS) were measured.
Results: Clearance of DHEAS and DHEA was lower in patients than in HS, and clearance of androstenedione was somewhat higher in patients than in HS, but daily excretion of this latter hormone was low. Clearance of cortisol, cortisone, and 17OHP was similar between the groups. The total molar amount per hour of excreted DHEA, DHEAS, and androstenedione was lower in patients than HS (but similar for cortisol). Serum DHEAS levels correlated with urinary DHEAS levels in HS and patients, whereby HS excreted 5–10 times more of this hormone than excreted by patients. Low serum levels of adrenal androgens and cortisol in patients as compared with HS were confirmed, and proteinuria was not associated with changes of measured renal parameters.
Conclusions: This study in patients with RA and SLE demonstrates that low serum levels of adrenal androgens and cortisol are not due to increased renal clearance and daily loss of these hormones. Decreased adrenal production or increased conversion or conjugation to downstream hormones are the most likely causes of inadequately low serum levels of adrenal hormones in RA and SLE.
The association of maternal weight gain with serum hormone concentrations was explored in 75 women who had healthy, singleton pregnancies. Estradiol, estriol, estrone, androstenedione, testosterone, dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and DHEA sulfate concentrations were measured both in maternal and mixed umbilical cord serum to assess hormone levels in both the maternal and fetal circulation at delivery. Our data show no association of maternal or cord steroid hormone concentrations with pregnancy weight gain. Increased exposure to steroid hormones, especially estrogens, during pregnancy has been hypothesized to play a role in subsequent breast cancer risk for both mother and female offspring. Our results are not consistent with an effect of pregnancy weight gain being mediated by this pathway as reflected by hormone concentrations at the end of pregnancy.
Pregnancy; breast cancer; estrogens; androgens
To determine whether low levels of testosterone, sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG), insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), and dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS) and high levels of cortisol and leptin would be associated with metabolic syndrome (MS).
Population-based sample of older Italian men.
Four hundred fifty-two men aged 65 and older enrolled in the Invecchiare in Chianti (InCHIANTI) study.
Complete data on testosterone, cortisol, DHEAS, SHBG, fasting insulin, IGF-1 and leptin. MS was defined according to Adult Treatment Panel III criteria.
MS was present in 73 men (15.8% of the sample). After adjusting for confounders, total testosterone (P<.05) and log (SHBG) (P<.001) were inversely associated, whereas log (leptin) was positively associated with MS (P<.001). Independent of age, log (SHBG) was positively associated with high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (P<.05) and negatively associated with abdominal obesity (P<.001) and triglycerides (P<.001). Log (leptin) was significantly associated with each component of MS. Cortisol, DHEAS, free and bioavailable testosterone, and IGF-1 were not associated with MS. Having three or more hormones in the lower (for hormones lower in MS) or the upper (for hormones higher in MS) quartile was associated with three times the risk of being affected by MS (odds ratio =2.8, 95% confidence interval =1.3–6.9) (P=.005), compared with not having this condition.
Total testosterone and SHBG are negatively and leptin is positively associated with MS in older men. Whether specific patterns of hormonal dysregulation predict the development of MS should be tested in longitudinal studies.
SHBG; testosterone; hormonal dysregulation; older men; metabolic syndrome
AIM--Since most forms of Kaposi sarcoma are much more common in men than in women, the aim of this study was to examine serum concentrations of sex steroids in HIV positive men with and without Kaposi sarcoma. METHODS--Blood samples from 34 HIV positive men without Kaposi sarcoma (KS-) and 28 with Kaposi sarcoma (KS+) and from 35 HIV negative men (controls) were analysed for adrenal and gonadal steroids. Further analysis was done in subgroups classified by CD4 lymphocyte counts. RESULTS--KS+ patients had significantly higher serum dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and testosterone concentrations than the KS- patients, and their DHEA, DHEA sulphate, testosterone, and androstenedione values were higher than in the controls. The KS+ patients with more than 500 CD4 lymphocytes per mm3 had significantly higher serum DHEA, DHEA sulphate, and testosterone than the KS- patients with the same CD4 counts; those with 500-200 CD4 cells/mm3 had higher serum DHEA and testosterone than the equivalent KS- men; and those with < 200 CD4 cells/mm3 had raised DHEA only compared with KS- men. Both KS+ and KS- men had higher serum progesterone and oestradiol than the controls. Glucocorticoids were not significantly altered. CONCLUSIONS--The high androgen levels in KS+ patients, particularly in the early stages of the disease (> 500 CD4 cells/mm3), may affect the immune system by inducing an abnormal cytokine profile, or by increasing T8 proliferation and activation, or both. This raises the question of the relationship between androgens and Kaposi sarcoma.
Differences in sex hormone levels among populations might contribute to the variation in breast cancer incidence across countries. Previous studies have shown higher breast cancer incidence and mortality among Japanese Brazilians than among Japanese. To clarify the difference in hormone levels among populations, we compared postmenopausal endogenous sex hormone levels among Japanese living in Japan, Japanese Brazilians living in the state of São Paulo, and non-Japanese Brazilians living in the state of São Paulo.
A cross-sectional study was conducted using a control group of case-control studies in Nagano, Japan, and São Paulo, Brazil. Participants were postmenopausal women older than 55 years of age who provided blood samples. We measured estradiol, estrone, androstenedione, dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS), testosterone and free testosterone by radioimmunoassay; bioavailable estradiol by the ammonium sulfate precipitation method; and sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) by immunoradiometric assay. A total of 363 women were included for the present analyses, comprising 185 Japanese, 44 Japanese Brazilians and 134 non-Japanese Brazilians.
Japanese Brazilians had significantly higher levels of estradiol, bioavailable estradiol, estrone, testosterone and free testosterone levels, and lower SHBG levels, than Japanese. Japanese Brazilians also had significantly higher levels of bioavailable estradiol, estrone and DHEAS and lower levels of SHBG and androstenedione than non-Japanese Brazilians. Levels of estradiol, testosterone and free testosterone, however, did not differ between Japanese Brazilians and non-Japanese Brazilians. These differences were observed even after adjustment for known breast cancer risk factors. We also found an increase in estrogen and androgen levels with increasing body mass index, but no association for most of the other known risk factors.
We found higher levels of estrogens and androgens in Japanese Brazilians than in Japanese and levels similar to or higher than in non-Japanese Brazilians. Our findings may help explain the increase in the incidence and mortality rate of breast cancer among Japanese Brazilians.
Although the clinical interpretation of its results varies greatly among perinatologists, the dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEA-S) loading test has become an integral part of fetal monitoring in many centres dealing with high-risk pregnancies. Currently four main metabolic responses to administration of DHEA-S to the mother are monitored to predict the functional state of the fetoplacental unit: the metabolic clearance of DHEA-S, the metabolic clearance of DHEA-S into estradiol, the conversion of DHEA-S into estradiol or esterol, and the increase in the plasma concentrations of DHEA and androstenedione after administration of DHEA-S. This article critically reviews each of these responses and its possible clinical interpretation, and assesses the clinical future of the DHEA-S loading test.
Objectives: To evaluate the possible effect of androgen status on sexuality and mental wellbeing in patients with primary Sjögren's syndrome (pSS).
Methods: Serum levels of dehydroepiandrosterone sulphate (DHEA-S), testosterone (T), androstenedione, sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG), and the SHBG/T ratio were measured in 21 women with pSS. Sexual life was assessed by a Swedish version of the McCoy scale, which covers sexual experience and responsiveness during the past 30 days. A standardised questionnaire, the Psychological General Well-Being Index (PGWB), was used to examine quality of life and psychological symptoms in patients with pSS.
Results: Positive correlations were found between DHEA-S serum levels and the total McCoy score (rs=0.62; p<0.01), as well as the subscales of this score reflecting arousal (0.59; p<0.05), desire (rs=0.52; p<0.05), and satisfaction (rs=0.66; p<0.01). Serum DHEA-S concentrations were also related to the total PGWB score (rs=0.60; p<0.01) and subscales of this score: depression (rs=0.62; p<0.01), wellbeing (rs=0.64; p<0.01), general health (rs=0.67; p<0.01), and self control (rs=0.67; p<0.01). Total McCoy and PGWB scores and their subscales were not related to the serum levels of testosterone and androstenedione or the T/SHBG ratio.
Conclusions: Circulating levels of the weak androgen DHEA-S are positively related to the quality of sexual life and mental wellbeing in women with pSS.
Although androgens may play an etiologic role in breast, ovarian, and endometrial cancers, little is known about factors that influence circulating androgen levels. We conducted a cross-sectional analysis among 646 postmenopausal women in the Nurses' Health Study to examine associations between adult risk factors for cancer, including the Rosner/Colditz breast cancer risk score, and plasma levels of testosterone, free testosterone, androstenedione, dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), and DHEA sulfate (DHEAS). All analyses were adjusted for age, laboratory batch, and other cancer risk factors. Free testosterone levels were 79% higher among women with a BMI of ≥30 vs. <22 kg/m2 (p-trend<0.01) and 25% higher among women with a waist circumference of >89 vs. ≤ 74 cm (p-trend=0.02). Consuming >30 grams of alcohol a day vs. none was associated with a 31% increase in DHEA and 59% increase in DHEAS levels (p-trend=0.01 and <0.01, respectively). Smokers of ≥25 cigarettes per day had 35% higher androstenedione and 44% higher testosterone levels than never smokers (p-value, F-test=0.03 and 0.01, respectively). No significant associations were observed for height or time since menopause with any androgen. Testosterone and free testosterone levels were approximately 30% lower among women with a hysterectomy vs. without (both p-values<0.01). Overall breast cancer risk was not associated with any of the androgens. Thus, several risk factors, including body size, alcohol intake, smoking, and hysterectomy, were related to androgen levels among postmenopausal women, while others, including height and time since menopause, were not. Future studies are needed to clarify further which lifestyle factors modulate androgen levels.
androgens; endogenous hormones; cancer risk factors; epidemiology
Calorie restriction (CR) slows aging and consistently reduces circulating sex hormones in laboratory animals. However, nothing is known regarding the long-term effects of CR with adequate nutrition on serum sex hormones concentration in lean healthy humans. In this study, we measured body composition, and serum total testosterone, total 17-β-estradiol, sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG), and dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEA-S) concentrations in 24 men (mean age 51.5±13 yrs), who had been practicing CR with adequate nutrition for an average of 7.4±4.5 years, in 24 age- and body fat-matched endurance runners (EX), and 24 age-matched sedentary controls eating Western diets (WD).
We found that both the CR and EX volunteers had significantly lower body fat than the WD volunteers (total body fat, 8.7±4.2%; 10.5±4.4%; 23.2±6.1%, respectively; P=0.0001). Serum total testosterone and the free androgen index were significantly lower, and SHBG was higher in the CR group than in the EX and WD groups (P≤0.001). Serum 17β-estradiol and the estradiol:SHBG ratio were both significantly lower in the CR and EX groups than in the WD group (P≤0.005). Serum DHEA-s concentrations were not different between the 3 groups. These findings demonstrate that, as in long-lived CR rodents, long-term severe CR reduces serum total and free testosterone and increases SHBG concentration in humans, independently of adiposity. More studies are needed to understand the role of this CR-mediated reduction in sex hormones in modulating the pathogenesis of age-associated chronic diseases such as cancer and the aging process itself.
calorie restriction; endurance exercise; sex hormones; 17-β-estradiol; testosterone; sex hormone binding globulin; DHEA-s
AIM: To measure serum androgen concentrations in men with HIV related Kaposi's sarcoma (KS) who had been treated with recombinant interferon (IFN) alpha-2a to determine the role of androgens on the development of KS lesions. METHODS: 32 men with HIV related KS who had been treated with IFN were studied: 24 men in complete KS remission and eight not in remission. Serum androgen concentrations were determined before, during, and after IFN treatment and correlated with clinical remission. RESULTS: All patients in complete KS remission had lower serum androgen concentrations following IFN treatment: -51% for dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) (p < 0.0001); -38% for DHEA sulphate (p < 0.002);-39% for androstenedione (p < 0.002); and -44% for testosterone (p < 0.007). These decreases brought the serum concentrations to about normal levels. However, IFN had varying effects on serum androgen concentrations in the men not in remission: a small decrease, a large increase in one androgen, or no change in serum androgens. CONCLUSIONS: The association between serum androgen levels and the progression or remission of HIV associated KS suggests that androgens affect the development of KS lesions. A clear understanding of the changes in the androgen environment may provide a sound basis for the development of new therapeutic strategies.
Overweight and obese women with breast cancer have poorer survival compared with thinner women. One possible mechanism is that breast cancer survivors with higher degrees of adiposity have higher concentrations of tumor-promoting hormones. This study examined the association between adiposity and concentrations of estrogens, androgens, and sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) in a population-based sample of postmenopausal women with breast cancer.
We studied the associations between body mass index (BMI), body fat mass and percent body fat measured by DXA scan, waist circumference, and waist-to-hip circumference ratio with concentrations of estrone, estradiol, testosterone, SHBG, dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS), free estradiol, and free testosterone in 505 Western Washington and New Mexico postmenopausal women with incident Stage 0-IIIa breast cancer. Blood and adiposity measurements were done between 4–12 months post-diagnosis.
Obese women (BMI ≥ 30) had 35% higher concentrations of estrone and 130% higher concentrations of estradiol, compared with lighter women (BMI < 22.0) (p trend, 0.005 and 0.002, respectively). Similar associations were observed for body fat mass, percent body fat and waist circumference. Testosterone concentrations also increased with increasing levels of adiposity (p trend, 0.0001). Concentrations of free estradiol and free testosterone were doubled to tripled in overweight and obese women compared with lighter-weight women (p trend=0.0001).
These data provide information about potential hormonal explanations for the association between adiposity and breast cancer prognosis. These sex hormones may be useful biomarkers for weight loss intervention studies in women with breast cancer.
Breast cancer; obesity; estrogen; testosterone; sex steroid hormones
To test the hypothesis that DHEAS production from DHEA occurs in hepatic cells, and that this production is augmented by the presence of sex steroids or insulin (INS).
In-vitro prospective experiment
Academic medical center.
Hepatoma (Hep) G2 cells cultured in media supplemented with: i) DHEA (10−5M) only, ii) DHEA (10−5M) + testosterone (T, 10−6M), iii) DHEA (10−5M) + estradiol (E2, 10−6M), iv) DHEA (10−5M) + dihydrotestosterone (DHT 10−6M), v) DHEA (10−5M) + insulin (INS 10 ng/mL), or vi) DHEA (10−5M) + insulin 100 ng/mL,
DHEAS levels in the media were measured at 0, 2, 4, 6, 8, 12, 24, 48, and 72 h after adding treatments at time-point 0.
DHEAS was first detected in the HepG2 cell culture media at 12h incubation. The cumulative production rate of DHEAS increased linearly until 72h incubation. When compared to the effect of treatment with DHEA only, treatment with DHEA plus T, DHT, or E2 delayed the cumulative DHEAS production; alternatively, the addition of INS did not alter DHEAS production.
These data suggest that while hepatic cells have the ability of converting DHEA to DHEAS, neither sex steroids nor INS result in the increased hepatic production of DHEAS.
Adrenal androgen excess; DHEA sulphotransferase; HepG2 cells; dehydroepiandrosterone; DHEAS; SULT2A1
In the songbird brain, dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is metabolized to the active and aromatizable androgen androstenedione (AE) by 3β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase/Δ5-Δ4 isomerase (3β-HSD). Thus, brain 3β-HSD plays a key role in regulating the steroidal milieu of the nervous system. Previous studies have shown that stress rapidly regulates brain 3β-HSD activity in a sex-specific manner. To elucidate endocrine regulation of brain 3β-HSD, we asked whether 17β-estradiol (E2) regulates DHEA metabolism in adult zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata) and whether there are sex-specific effects. Brain tissue was homogenized and centrifuged to obtain supernatant lacking whole cells and cell nuclei. Supernatant was incubated with [3H]DHEA and radioinert E2 in vitro. Within only 10 min, E2 significantly reduced 3β-HSD activity in both male and female brain. Interestingly, the rapid effects of E2 were more pronounced in females than males. These are the first data to show a rapid effect of estrogens on the songbird brain and suggest that rapid estrogen effects differ between male and female brains.
PMID: 17949414 CAMSID: cams340
3beta-HSD; 5beta-reductase; androstenedione; aromatase; bird; corticosterone; dehydroepiandrosterone; estradiol; HPLC; neurosteroid; non-genomic; song; stress; testosterone; zebra finch
A decline in dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and GH levels with aging may be associated with frailty and morbidity. Little is known about the direct effects of DHEA on somatotropes. We recently reported that 17β-estradiol (E2), a DHEA metabolite, stimulates the expression of GH in vitro in young female rats. To test the hypothesis that DHEA restores function in aging somatotropes, dispersed anterior pituitary (AP) cells from middle-aged (12–14 months) or young (3–4 months) female rats were cultured in vitro with or without DHEA or E2 and fixed for immunolabeling or in situ hybridization. E2 increased the percentage of AP cells with GH protein or mRNA in the aged rats to young levels. DHEA increased the percentages of somatotropes (detected by GH protein or mRNA) from 14–16 ± 2% to 29–31 ± 3% (P ≤0.05) and of GH mRNA (detected by quantitative RT-PCR) only in aging rats. To test DHEA’s in vivo effects, 18-month-old female rats were injected with DHEA or vehicle for 2.5 d, followed by a bolus of GHRH 1 h before death. DHEA treatment increased serum GH 1.8-fold (7 ± 0.5 to 12 ± 1.3 ng/ml; P = 0.02, by RIA) along with a similar increase (P = 0.02) in GH immunolabel. GHRH target cells also increased from 11 ± 1% to 19 ± 2% (P = 0.03). Neither GH nor GHRH receptor mRNAs levels were changed. To test the mechanisms behind DHEA’s actions, AP cells from aging rats were treated with DHEA with or without inhibitors of DHEA metabolism. Trilostane, aminogluthemide, or ICI 182,780 completely blocked the stimulatory effects of DHEA, suggesting that DHEA metabolites may stimulate aging somatotropes via estrogen receptors.
AP, Anterior pituitary; DHEA, dehydroepiandrosterone; E2, 17β-estradiol; ER, estrogen receptor; GHRH R, GHRH receptor; HPRT, hypoxanthine guanine phosphoribosyltransferase; 3β-HSD, 3β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase; IOD, integrated optical density; ITS, insulin, transferrin, sodium selenite, and BSA; QRT-PCR, quantitative RT-PCR