Finasteride, an inhibitor of 5 α-reductase (Type II), lowers intraprostatic dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which is reflected in serum as reduced 5α-androstane-3α,17β-diol glucuronide (3α-dG). It also modestly increases serum testosterone (T), estrone (E1) and estradiol (E2). In this altered hormonal milieu, it is unknown whether serum concentrations of these hormones are associated with prostate cancer risk.
In this nested case-control study of men in the finasteride arm of the Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial, sex steroid hormones and sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) were measured at baseline and approximately 3-years post-treatment in 553 prostate cancer cases and 694 controls.
Median post-treatment changes in concentrations of 3α-dG, T, E1, and E2 were −73.8%, +10.1%, +11.2%, and +7.5% (all p<0.001), respectively. Neither the pre- nor post-treatment concentrations of 3α-dG, nor its change, were associated with risk. Pre-treatment, high concentrations of E1 and low concentrations of T were associated with increased cancer risk (Odds Ratio[95% CI] quartile 4 vs 1: 1.38[0.99–1.93] ptrend=0.03; 0.64 [0.43–0.93] ptrend=0.07, respectively). Post-treatment, high concentrations of both E1 and E2 and were associated with increased cancer risk (OR[95% CI] quartile 4 vs 1: 1.54[1.09–2.17] ptrend=0.03; 1.49[1.07–2.07] ptrend=0.02, respectively).
Among finasteride-treated men, concentrations of 3α-dG were not associated with total or Gleason grades 2–6, 7–10 or 8–10 cancer. High serum estrogens may increase cancer risk when intraprostatic DHT is pharmacologically lowered.
Low post-treatment serum estrogens may identify men more likely to benefit from use of finasteride to prevent prostate cancer.
There have been no controlled intervention studies to investigate the effects of green tea on circulating hormone levels, an established breast cancer risk factor. We conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled intervention study to investigate the effect of the main green tea catechin, epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), taken in a green tea extract, Polyphenon E (PPE). Postmenopausal women (n=103) were randomized into three arms: placebo, 400 mg EGCG as PPE, or 800 mg EGCG as PPE as capsules per day for 2 months. Urinary tea catechin and serum estrogen, androgen, lipid, glucose-related markers, adiponectin, and growth factor levels were measured at baseline and at the end of months 1 and 2 of intervention. Based on urinary tea catechin concentrations, compliance was excellent. Supplementation with PPE did not produce consistent patterns of changes in estradiol (E2), estrone (E1), or testosterone (T) levels. Low density lipoprotein (LDL)-cholesterol decreased significantly in both PPE groups but was unchanged in the placebo group; the change in LDL-cholesterol differed between the placebo and PPE groups (P=0.02). Glucose and insulin levels decreased nonsignificantly in the PPE groups but increased in the placebo group; statistically significant differences in changes in glucose (P=0.008) and insulin (P=0.01) were found. In summary, green tea (400 and 800 mg EGCG as PPE; ~5–10 cups) supplementation for 2 months had suggestive beneficial effects on LDL cholesterol concentrations and glucose-related markers.
green tea; hormones; lipids; glucose; intervention
Estrogens and androgens are elevated in obesity and associated with increased postmenopausal breast cancer risk, but the effect of weight loss on these biomarkers is unknown. We evaluated the individual and combined effects of a reduced-calorie weight loss diet and exercise on serum sex hormones in overweight and obese postmenopausal women.
Patients and Methods
We conducted a single-blind, 12-month, randomized controlled trial from 2005 to 2009. Participants (age 50 to 75 years; body mass index > 25.0 kg/m2, exercising < 100 minutes/wk) were randomly assigned using a computer-generated sequence to (1) reduced-calorie weight loss diet (“diet”; n = 118), (2) moderate- to vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise (“exercise”; n = 117), (3) combined reduced-calorie weight loss diet and moderate- to vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise (“diet + exercise”; n = 117), or (4) control (n = 87). Outcomes were estrone concentration (primary) and estradiol, free estradiol, total testosterone, free testosterone, androstenedione, and sex hormone–binding globulin (SHBG) concentrations (secondary).
Mean age and body mass index were 58 years and 30.9 kg/m2, respectively. Compared with controls, estrone decreased 9.6% (P = .001) with diet, 5.5% (P = .01) with exercise, and 11.1% (P < .001) with diet + exercise. Estradiol decreased 16.2% (P < .001) with diet, 4.9% (P = .10) with exercise, and 20.3% (P < .001) with diet + exercise. SHBG increased 22.4% (P < .001) with diet and 25.8% (P < .001) with diet + exercise. Free estradiol decreased 21.4% (P < .001) with diet and 26.0% (P < .001) with diet + exercise. Free testosterone decreased 10.0% (P < .001) with diet and 15.6% (P < .001) with diet + exercise. Greater weight loss produced stronger effects on estrogens and SHBG.
Weight loss significantly lowered serum estrogens and free testosterone, supporting weight loss for risk reduction through lowering exposure to breast cancer biomarkers.
It is now recognized that mean circulating DHEAS concentrations in most midlife women exhibit a positive inflection starting in the early perimenopause, continuing through the early post menopause and returning to early perimenopausal levels by late post menopause. This rise in mean DHEAS is accompanied by concomitant rises in testosterone (T), dehydroepiandrosteone (DHEA), androstenedione (Adione), and an equal rise androstenediol (Adiol). These observations suggest that there is a specific relationship between the circulating levels of steroids emanating from the adrenal, declining ovarian function and stages of the menopausal transition (MT). This study was designed to test the hypothesis that the menopausal stage-specific change in circulating DHEAS is associated with concomitant changes in the circulating pattern of adrenal steroids and that some of these adrenal androgens could influence the circulating estrogen/androgen balance.
Stored annual serum samples (n=120) were first selected to represent four longitudinal DS profiles of individual women in order to assess and compare changes in the adrenal contribution to circulating steroids.
Changes in mean circulating DHEAS levels in midlife women during the MT is associated with changes in mean circulating Testosterone (T), androstendione (Adione), and androstenediol (Adiol). Mean Adione and T concentrations changed the least while mean DHEAS and Adiol changed the most.
Changes in circulating steroid hormone emanating from the adrenal during the menopausal transition may be more important than the decline of ovarian function in terms of altering the estrogen/androgen balance.
DHEAS; androstenediol; estrogen; estrogenicity; menopause; adrenal
The perimenopausal increase in circulating dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS) levels during the menopausal transition (MT) is accompanied by other adrenal steroids that have the potential to alter the estrogen/androgen balance and explain the wide inter-woman range of estrogen-related symptoms experienced during the MT.
Annual serum samples from the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation (SWAN), which had previously been analyzed for immunoreactive estradiol (E2), testosterone (T), DHEAS and sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG), were selected based on DHEAS concentration and analyzed for immunoreactive and bioactive estrogens and androgens, including immunoreactive androstenedione (Adione), dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and 5-androstene-3β,17β-diol (androstenediol, Adiol).
A two-fold increase in circulating Adione and T was found to rise in parallel with the rise in circulating DHEAS, while DHEA and Adiol concentrations rose seven to eightfold. Circulating Adiol, which has both androgenic and estrogenic biological activity, was significantly associated (p<0.02) with circulating estrogen bioactivity only when E2 concentrations were low and Adiol levels were high.
The wide range of circulating levels of Adiol and its contribution to total circulating estrogenicity during the MT is consistent with the observed inter-woman difference in symptoms at this time. Therefore, we conclude that Adiol contributes to circulating estrogenicity when E2 production falls at menopause and may contribute significantly to the endocrine changes experienced by midlife women.
Androstenediol; estrogenicity; menopause; adrenal
It has been hypothesized that the risk of testicular germ cell tumors (TGCT) is associated with maternal hormone levels. To examine the hypothesis, some studies have used perinatal factors as surrogates for hormone levels. To determine the validity of this assumption, hormone-perinatal factor relationships were examined in the Collaborative Perinatal Project.
Maternal estradiol, estriol and testosterone levels in first and third trimester serum samples were correlated with perinatal factors among 300 mothers representative of populations at high (white Americans) or low (black Americans) risk of TGCT.
Among white participants, testosterone levels, were negatively associated with maternal height (p<0.01) and age (p=0.02), and positively associated with maternal weight (p=0.02) and BMI (p<0.01), while estradiol levels were negatively associated with height (p=0.03) and positively associated with son’s birthweight (p=0.04). Among black participants, estriol levels were negatively associated with maternal weight (p=0.01), BMI (p=0.02) and gestational age p<0.01), and positively associated with son’s birthweight (p<0.01), length (p=0.04) and head circumference (p=0.03).
These findings indicate that the use of perinatal characteristics as surrogates for hormone levels should be limited to a specific ethnic group. Among white men, previously reported associations of TGCT with maternal weight and age may be due to lower maternal testosterone levels.
testicular cancer; maternal hormones; perinatal factors
We previously reported an inverse association between sleep duration and breast cancer risk in the prospective, population-based Singapore Chinese Health Study (SCHS) cohort (Wu et al., Carcinogenesis 2008;29:1244–8). Sleep duration was significantly positively associated with 6-sulfatoxymelatonin (aMT6s) levels determined in a spot urine, but aMT6s levels in breast cancer cases were lacking (Wu et al., Carcinogenesis 2008;29:1244–8). We updated the sleep duration–breast cancer association with 14 years of follow-up of 34,028 women in the SCHS. In a nested case–control study conducted within the SCHS, randomly timed, prediagnostic urinary aMT6s concentrations were compared between 248 incident breast cancer and 743 individually matched cohort controls. Three female controls were individually matched to each case on age at baseline interview (within 3 years), dialect group, menopausal status, date of baseline interview (within 2 years), date of urine sample collection (within 6 months) and timing of urine collection during the day (within 1 hr). Cox proportional hazards and conditional regression models with appropriate adjustment for confounders were used to examine the sleep– and aMT6s–breast cancer relationships. Breast cancer risk was not significantly associated with sleep duration; adjusted odds ratio (OR) for 9+ vs. ≤6 hr is 0.89 [95% confidence interval (95% CI) 5 0.64–1.22]. Prediagnostic aMT6s levels did not differ between breast cancer cases and matched controls; adjusted OR for highest versus lowest quartiles is 1.00 (95% CI 5 0.64-1.54). We conclude that sleep duration is not significantly associated with breast cancer risk reduction. Melatonin levels derived from randomly timed spot urine are unrelated to breast cancer. Randomly timed, spot urine-derived melatonin levels are noninformative as surrogates of nocturnal melatonin production.
sleep duration; spot urinary melatonin; breast cancer; prospective; Singaporean Chinese
Optimal care for breast cancer patients undergoing aromatase inhibitor (AI) treatment is ensured when estradiol (E2) levels are adequately suppressed. To assess treatment efficacy accurately, it is important to measure the serum E2 levels using a well validated assay method with high sensitivity and specificity. This translates into the urgent need to evaluate various E2 immunoassay kits, which are frequently used in hospital settings to measure E2 serum levels in patients undergoing AI treatment, so clinicians obtain accurate and reliable measurements allowing appropriate clinical decision making. Our objective was to evaluate the performance of different commercially available and commonly used E2 immunoassay kits regarding measurement of E2 levels in the serum of postmenopausal breast cancer patients treated with AIs, in comparison to a highly accurate and reliable mass spectrometry assay. Clinical and demographic data were obtained from 77 postmenopausal breast cancer patients who were treated with an AI. Serum E2 levels were measured by 6 immunoassay methods and by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS), which served as the standard for comparison. Analysis of E2 by LC-MS/MS showed that 70% of the samples had levels that were <5 pg/ml. Three of the assays carried out with commercial E2 immunoassay kits had poor sensitivities and were not able to detect E2 levels <10 or <20 pg/ml. Although two of the E2 assays using commercial kits demonstrated a better sensitivity (5 pg/ml), the measured E2 values were substantially higher than those obtained by LC-MS/MS. The assay with the sixth commercial E2 kit grossly underestimated the true E2 values. E2 assays carried out with commercial E2 immunoassay kits lack the accuracy to measure the very low serum E2 levels found in patients being treated with AIs. Serum samples from such patients should be sent to laboratories that use a mass spectrometry assay.
Laboratory studies have demonstrated that vitamin D has a number of chemopreventive properties, and that these properties may be mediated or modified by other molecules in the vitamin D pathway, such as parathyroid hormone (PTH) or calcium. However, there is little epidemiologic data exploring the effects of vitamin D on breast cancer risk in the context of these other molecules. We examined a panel of molecules in the vitamin D pathway in relation to mammographic breast density, a marker of breast cancer risk, in the Wisconsin Breast Density Study. A total of 238 postmenopausal women (ages 55-70, with no history of postmenopausal hormone use) were enrolled from mammography clinics in Madison, Wisconsin. Subjects provided blood samples that were analyzed for levels of 25-hydroxy vitamin D [25(OH)D], PTH, insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF1), IGF-binding protein 3 (IGFBP3), retinol, and calcium. Percent breast density was measured using Cumulus software. In age-adjusted analyses there was a positive association between 25(OH)D and percent breast density (P=0.05; mean percent density=11.3% vs. 15.6% for 1st vs. 4th quartile of 25(OH)D). Breast density was inversely associated with PTH (P=0.05; 16.0% vs. 11.4% for Q1 vs. Q4) and positively associated with the IGF-1:IGFBP-3 molar ratio (P=0.02; 11.9% vs. 15.6% for Q1 vs. Q4). However, these associations were all null after further adjustment for body mass index (BMI; P>0.25). The independent relation between 25(OH)D and breast density remained null among subgroups defined by BMI and serum levels of retinol, calcium, and estradiol. These results suggest no strong independent associations between the circulating molecules of the vitamin D pathway and mammographic breast density in postmenopausal women. While it remains possible that vitamin D could influence breast cancer risk, our results suggest that such an effect would be mediated through pathways other than breast density.
mammographic breast density; vitamin D; calcium; parathyroid hormone; breast cancer
This study was conducted to compare oral contraceptive (OC) pharmacokinetics (PK) in normal weight (BMI 19.0-24.9) and obese (BMI 30.0-39.9) women.
During the third week of the third cycle of OC use, we admitted 15 normal weight and 15 obese women for collection of 12 venous specimens over 24 h. Using RIA techniques, we measured levels of ethinyl estradiol (EE) and levonorgestrel (LNG). During the same cycle, women underwent twice-weekly sonography to assess ovarian follicular development and blood draws to measure endogenous estradiol (E2) and progesterone levels.
Obese women had a lower area under the curve (AUC; 1077.2 pg*h/mL vs 1413.7 pg*h/mL) and lower maximum values (85.7 pg/mL vs 129.5 pg/mL) for EE than normal weight women (p = 0.04 and 0.01, respectively); EE trough levels were similar between BMI groups. The similar, but smaller, differences in their LNG levels for AUC and maximum values (Cmax) were not statistically significant. While peak values differed somewhat, the LNG trough levels were similar for obese and normal weight women (2.6 ng/mL and 2.5 ng/mL, respectively). Women with greater EE AUC had smaller follicular diameters (p = 0.05) and lower E2 levels (p = 0.04). While follicular diameters tended to be larger among obese women, these differences were not statistically significant.
OC hormone peak levels are lower among obese women compared to normal weight women, but their trough levels are similar. In this small study, the observed PK differences did not translate into more ovarian follicular activity among obese OC users.
Many studies have investigated the immediate impact of physical activity on prolactin concentrations; however, it is currently unclear what impact exercise may have on prolactin concentrations in the long-term, particularly among women. Understanding the role of exercise on prolactin is important because epidemiologic studies have reported increased risks of breast cancer in association with high prolactin concentrations. We investigated whether exercise alters serum prolactin concentrations at two time points within a one-year exercise intervention.
Out of 96 women aged 40-75 years, 47 were randomized to a 12-month regimen of moderate-intensity physical activity and 49 were randomized to the control group. Participants in the exercise group (exercisers) took part in exercise at gym facilities 3 times per week and 3 times per week on their own. Serum prolactin was collected from participants at baseline, 3 and 12 months. Using generalized linear models, we compared the percent change in prolactin concentrations from baseline to the two follow-up time points in the exercisers versus the control group.
While we observed the suggestion of differences in the change in serum prolactin concentrations in some subgroups, overall there was no difference in the change in prolactin concentrations between exercisers and controls at 3 months (P=0.84) or 12 months (P=0.19).
Our study does not support the hypothesis that long-term exercise influences serum prolactin concentrations.
adherence; biomarker; exercise trial; randomized control trial
Oesophageal cancers rank as the eighth most common cancer and the sixth most common cause of cancer death, worldwide. Gastric atrophy, as determined by a low serum pepsinogen I/II ratio, may be associated with an increased risk of oesophageal squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC). Ghrelin, a hormone which, like pepsinogen, is produced in the fundic glands of the stomach, may be a sensitive and specific marker of gastric atrophy, but its association with OSCC is not known.
To examine the relationship between baseline serum ghrelin concentration and subsequent risk of OSCC, we conducted a nested case-control study within the Alpha-Tocopherol, Beta-Carotene Cancer Prevention (ATBC) Study. 82 cases of OSCC were matched (1:1) by age and date of blood draw to controls from the ATBC study. Serum ghrelin was measured by radioimmunoassay. Odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) were calculated using conditional logistic regression with adjustment for potential confounders.
For those individuals in the lowest quartile of serum ghrelin, compared to those in the highest, the multivariate odds ratio of subsequent OSCC was 6.83 (95% CI: 1.46, 31.84). These associations were dose dependent (P for trend = 0.005 for both), and independent of the effects of low pepsinogen I/II ratio (a marker of gastric fundic atrophy) and Helicobacter pylori infection. The significance of these associations remained even for individuals developing OSCC up to 10 years after baseline ghrelin measurement, though they become attenuated after 10 years.
Lower baseline concentrations of serum ghrelin were associated with an increase in risk of OSCC. Further studies are needed to confirm this finding in other populations and to explore the role of ghrelin in the aetiology of OSCC.
ghrelin; oesophageal squamous cell carcinoma; atrophy
One possible mechanism how nutritional factors may affect breast cancer risk is through an influence on estrogen levels. Nipple aspirate fluid (NAF) is thought to provide a more direct insight into hormonal influences on breast tissue than serum. The ability to produce NAF may be an indicator of breast cancer risk. The current analysis was conducted as part of a soy trial in 92 premenopausal women and evaluated the relation of usual dietary intake with NAF volume and the most predominant steroidal estrogens in NAF and serum at baseline. Estradiol (E2) and estrone sulfate (E1S) were assessed in NAF and E2, estrone (E1), and E1S, in serum using highly sensitive radioimmunoassays. The statistical analysis applied multivariate, log-linear regression models. Intake of saturated fat and cheese (p=0.06 for both) indicated a positive trend with NAF volume whereas isoflavonoid and soy—consumption suggested inverse associations (p=0.08 and p=0.01). For estrogens in NAF, total fat and monounsaturated fat intake was positively associated with E2 (p=0.05 and p=0.02) and in serum, alcohol intake was associated with higher E1S levels (p=0.02). These findings suggest a weak influence of dietary composition on NAF production and estrogen levels in serum and NAF.
The etiology of prostate cancer remains elusive, although steroid hormones probably play a role. Considering the carcinogenic potential of estrogen metabolites as well as altered intraprostatic estrogen biosynthesis during the development of prostate cancer, we investigated associations between repeat polymorphisms of three key estrogen-related genes (CYP11A1, CYP19A1, UGT1A1) and risk of prostate cancer in the Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial (PCPT), designed to test finasteride versus placebo as a chemoprevention agent. Using data and specimens from 1154 cases and 1351 controls who were frequency matched on age, family history of prostate cancer and PCPT treatment arm, we used logistic regression to estimate odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs) separately in the placebo and finasteride arms. Among men in the placebo arm, CYP19A1 7/8 genotype carriers had a significantly higher risk of prostate cancer compared with those with the 7/7 genotype (OR = 1.70, 95% CI = 1.16–2.5), regardless of Gleason grade. This genotype was also associated with elevated serum estrogen levels. For the (TA)n repeat polymorphism in UGT1A1, the heterozygous short (<7 repeats)/long (≥7 repeats) genotype was significantly associated with the risk of low-grade prostate cancer (OR = 1.34, 95% CI = 1.05–1.70) compared with the short/short genotype. No significant association was found with CYP11A1. These associations were not observed among men in the finasteride arm. The results indicate that repeat polymorphisms in genes involved in estrogen biosynthesis and metabolism may influence risk of prostate cancer but that their effects may be modified by factors altering hormone metabolism, such as finasteride treatment.
Postmenopausal changes in the hormonal milieu in women with or without hormone therapy (HT) are hypothesized to be the pathway for a number of menopause-associated modifications in physiology and disease risk. Physical activity may modify these changes in women’s hormone profiles. The crucial yet complex relationship between physical activity and physiologic and pharmacologic sex hormone levels in postmenopausal women has not been investigated sufficiently.
Using structured recall, physical activity was assessed longitudinally over two years in 194 postmenopausal women (90 randomized to daily 1 mg 17β-estradiol and 104 to placebo) in the Estrogen in the Prevention of Atherosclerosis Trial. Levels of physical activity were correlated to serum sex hormone and serum hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) levels in each treatment group.
In placebo-treated women, total energy expenditure was positively associated with sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) (p<0.001) and inversely associated with testosterones (total, bioavailable, free) and androstenedione (p<0.001 for all), as well as with estradiol (p=0.02). In estradiol-treated women, estradiol levels were inversely associated with total energy expenditure (p=0.002) and weekly hours spent in moderate or more vigorous physical activity (p=0.001).
Physical activity is associated with lower serum levels of estradiol in both HT-treated and untreated women. In placebo-treated women only, physical activity is associated with reduced androgen levels and elevated SHBG levels.
Physical activity; sex hormones; estradiol; menopause
Based on the hypothesized protective effect, we examined the effect of soy foods on estrogens in nipple aspirate fluid (NAF) and serum, possible indicators of breast cancer risk.
In a cross-over design, we randomized 96 women who produced ≥10 μL NAF to a high- or low-soy diet for 6-months. During the high-soy diet, participants consumed 2 soy servings of soy milk, tofu, or soy nuts (approximately 50 mg of isoflavones/day); during the low-soy diet, they maintained their usual diet. Six NAF samples were obtained using a FirstCyte© Aspirator. Estradiol (E2) and estrone sulfate (E1S) were assessed in NAF and estrone (E1) in serum only using highly sensitive radioimmunoassays. Mixed-effects regression models accounting for repeated measures and left-censoring limits were applied.
Mean E2 and E1S were lower during the high-soy than the low-soy diet (113 vs. 313 pg/mL and 46 vs. 68 ng/mL, respectively) without reaching significance (p=0.07); the interaction between group and diet and was not significant. There was no effect of the soy treatment on serum E2 (p=0.76), E1 (p=0.86), or E1S (p=0.56). Within individuals, NAF and serum levels of E2 (rs=0.37; p<0.001) but not E1S (rs=0.004; p=0.97) were correlated. E2 and E1S in NAF and serum were strongly associated (rs=0.78 and rs=0.48; p<0.001).
Soy foods in amounts consumed by Asians did not significantly modify estrogen levels in NAF and serum.
The trend towards lower estrogens in NAF during the high-soy diet counters concerns about adverse effects of soy foods on breast cancer risk.
Soy foods; isoflavones; breast fluid; serum; breast cancer risk; diet and nutrition
Cancers of the upper gastrointestinal tract remain a substantial cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Ghrelin is a hormone produced in the oxyntic glands of the stomach, and under conditions of chronic inflammation and atrophy, serum ghrelin concentrations decrease. However, the relationship between ghrelin and the risk of gastric and esophagogastric junctional cancers has not been investigated.
We conducted a nested case–control study within the Finnish Alpha-Tocopherol, Beta-Carotene Cancer Prevention Study to examine the relationship between serum ghrelin concentration and the risk of gastric noncardia adenocarcinoma (GNCA) and esophagogastric junctional adenocarcinoma (EGJA). Data from 261 GNCA patients, 98 EGJA patients, and 441 control subjects were analyzed. Odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs) were calculated using logistic regression with adjustment for potential confounders. Lag analysis was also performed to investigate the temporal nature of the associations between baseline serum pepsinogen I and ghrelin in GNCA and EGJA patients. All statistical tests were two-sided.
Lower concentrations of serum ghrelin were statistically significantly associated with an increased risk of both GNCA (adjusted OR = 1.75, 95% CI = 1.49 to 2.04; P < .001) and EGJA (adjusted OR = 1.56, 95% CI = 1.28 to 1.89, P < .001). A multivariable model found that the risk of both GNCA and EGJA were statistically significantly increased for those individuals in the lowest quartile of serum ghrelin levels compared with those in the highest quartile (OR of GNCA = 5.63, 95% CI = 3.16 to 10.03; OR of EGJA = 4.90, 95% CI = 2.11 to 11.35). The statistical significance of these associations remained even after restricting the analysis to those patients who developed cancer more than 10 years after baseline serum ghrelin measurements.
Low baseline concentrations of serum ghrelin were associated with a statistically significant increase in the risk of GNCA and EGJA, suggesting a potential role for gastric hormones in carcinogenesis.
Antimüllerian hormone (AMH) is extensively studied in ovarian aging and pathology; however, little is known about correlates in healthy premenopausal women. We found that AMH levels are strongly inversely associated with age and differed significantly between oral contraceptive pill users and nonusers, whereas no significant associations were seen between AMH and other clinical, behavioral, and anthropometric characteristics and laboratory variables, making it an attractive hormone for clinical applications.
Müllerian-inhibiting substance (MIS); antimüllerian hormone (AMH); ovary; premenopausal; healthy
We examined the relationships between normal aging, Alzheimer’s disease (AD), and brain levels of sex steroid hormones in men and women. In postmortem brain tissue from neuropathologically normal, postmenopausal women, we found no age-related changes in brain levels of either androgens or estrogens. In comparing women with and without AD at different ages, brain levels of estrogens and androgens were lower in AD cases aged 80 years and older but not significantly different in the 60–79 year age range. In male brains, we observed that normal aging was associated with significant decreases in androgens but not estrogens. Further, in men aged 60–79 years, brain levels of testosterone but not estrogens were lower in cases with mild neuropathological changes as well as those with advanced AD neuropathology. In male cases over age 80, brain levels hormones did not significantly vary by neuropathological status. To begin investigating the relationships between hormone levels and indices of AD neuropathology, we measured brain levels of soluble β-amyloid (Aβ). In male cases with mild neuropathological changes, we found an inverse relationship between brain levels of testosterone and soluble Aβ. Collectively, these findings demonstrate sex-specific relationships between normal, age-related depletion of androgens and estrogens in men and women, which may be relevant to development of AD.
Glucuronidation, catalyzed by UDP-glucuronosyltransferases (UGT) and sulfation, catalyzed by sulfotransferases (SULT), are pathways through which sex steroids are metabolized to less active compounds. These enzymes are highly polymorphic and genetic variants frequently result in higher or lower activity. The phenotypic effects of these polymorphisms on circulating sex steroids in premenopausal women have not yet been investigated. One hundred and seventy women ages 40-45 years had a blood sample drawn during the follicular phase of the menstrual cycle for sex steroid measures and to obtain genomic DNA. Urine was collected for 2-hydroxy (OH) estrone (E1) and 16α-OH E1 measures. Generalized linear regression models were used to assess associations between sex steroids and polymorphisms in the UGT1A and UGT2B families, SULT1A1, and SULT1E1. Women with the UGT1A1(TA7/TA7) genotype had 25% lower mean estradiol (E2) concentrations compared to the wildtype (TA6/TA6) (p = 0.02). Similar associations were observed between SULT1A1(R213/H213) and E1 (13% lower mean E1 concentration vs. wildtype; p-value = 0.02) and UGT2B4(E458/E458) and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) (20% lower mean DHEA vs. wildtype; p-value = 0.03). The SULT1E1(A/C) and the UGT1A1(TA7)-UGT1A3(R11) haplotypes were associated with reduced estrogen concentrations. Further study of UGT and SULT polymorphisms and circulating sex steroid measures in larger populations of premenopausal women is warranted.
Uridine diphosphoglucuronosyltransferases; sulfotransferases; estrogens; androgens; premenopausal women
Inflammation is hypothesized to play a role in colorectal tumorigenesis. Circulating levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), a serologic marker of the inflammatory response, have been positively associated with colorectal cancer development in some studies; however, there are limited data on the relation of CRP with colorectal adenomas, established precursors of colorectal cancer.
A nested case-control investigation of CRP levels and incident colorectal adenoma was conducted in the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial, a randomized trial of 154,942 individuals designed to test the efficacy of flexible sigmoidoscopy on colorectal cancer mortality when performed once, and then repeated 3-5 years later. Serum CRP levels were measured in baseline blood specimens from participants who were free of polyps in the left-sided colorectum at the baseline screening procedure, but who were found at the subsequent screen to have at least one colorectal adenoma(N=356), and in a set of polyp-free, frequency-matched controls(N=396).
In a multivariable logistic regression model that included established colorectal adenoma risk factors, a 1-unit increase in log CRP level was associated with a 15% reduction in risk of developing colorectal adenoma (OR=0.85, 95%CI, 0.75-0.98, Ptrend=0.01). This association did not differ according to body size, smoking behavior, gender, use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or adenoma location.
High circulating CRP levels may be protective against colorectal adenoma development.
Though at contrast with mechanistic data on inflammation and colorectal tumorigenesis, this finding is not inconsistent with prior results on CRP and colorectal adenoma and warrants further investigation.
The use of breast density as an intermediate or predictive marker of breast cancer risk is limited by an incomplete understanding of the etiology of breast density. High blood levels of endogenous estrogens and androgens are associated with increased risk of breast cancer among postmenopausal women. We sought to examine whether these hormones are also associated with breast density. The Wisconsin Breast Density Study enrolled 257 postmenopausal women, ages 55–70 years, with no history of postmenopausal hormone use, from mammography clinics in Madison, Wisconsin. Subjects provided a blood sample for sex hormone analysis, and breast density was measured from subjects’ screening mammograms using a computer-assisted thresholding method. Numerous sex hormones were associated with breast density in age-adjusted analyses. However, further adjustment for body mass index and other potentially confounding factors substantially attenuated or eliminated these associations. In the fully adjusted model, there remained a positive association between percent breast density and serum progesterone (P=0.03), with percent density rising from 11.9% (95% CI: 9.8, 14.1%) among women in the lowest quartile of serum progesterone to 15.4% (12.9, 18.2%) among women in the highest quartile. There was also a positive association between sex hormone binding globulin and percent breast density (P=0.06). In contrast, there were no associations between percent breast density and estradiol (total, free, or bioavailable), estrone, estrone sulfate, or testosterone (total, free, or bioavailable). These results suggest that breast density has a hormonal etiology, however, it may differ in important ways from that of breast cancer risk.
mammographic breast density; estrogens; androgens; progesterone; breast cancer
Anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) are widely used in reproductive-age women. The AED carbamazepine (CBZ) induces the hepatic cytochrome p450 system accelerating hormone metabolism. We sought to assess the pharmacodynamic effects of CBZ on breakthrough bleeding and ovulation during OC use.
A double-blind, randomized, cross-over study of healthy women ages 18 to 35 years. Participants took an OC containing 20 mcgs ethinyl estradiol (EE) and 100 mcgs levonorgestrel (LNG) for four months. Concurrently, participants took CBZ 600 mgs or a matching placebo for two months each, administered in random order. During the second month of CBZ or placebo, we measured EE and LNG levels twelve times over 24 hours, ovarian follicular diameters with eight bi-weekly vaginal ultrasounds, weekly progesterone levels and bleeding using a diary.
We enrolled 25 women; 10 completed the study. Five discontinued due to reversible CBZ side effects. Mean area under the curve measurements were lower during CBZ use compared to placebo for EE (1778 versus 986 pg*h/ml, p<0.001) and LNG (24.8 vs. 13.8 pg*h/ml, p=0.04). Ovulation occurred in 5 of 10 CBZ cycles compared to 1 of 10 placebo cycles (p=0.06). Three or more days of breakthrough bleeding occurred during 8 of the 10 CBZ cycles compared to 2 of the 10 placebo cycles (p= 0.07).
A commonly used dose of CBZ decreased levels of contraceptive steroids, increased breakthrough bleeding and permitted ovulation during use of a low-dose OC. Women treated with CBZ are not adequately protected from pregnancy by low-dose OCs.
anti-epileptic drugs; contraception; oral contraceptives; carbamazepine
The risk of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is higher in women than in men, a sex difference that likely results from the effects of sex steroid hormones. To investigate this relationship, we first compared progression of β-amyloid (Aβ) pathology in male and female triple transgenic (3xTg-AD) mice. We found that female 3xTg-AD mice exhibit significantly greater Aβ burden and larger behavioral deficits than age-matched males. Next, we evaluated how the organizational effects of sex steroid hormones during postnatal development may affect adult vulnerability to Aβ pathology. We observed that male 3xTg-AD mice demasculinized during early development exhibit significantly increased Aβ accumulation in adulthood. In contrast, female mice defeminized during early development exhibit a more male-like pattern of Aβ pathology in adulthood. Taken together, these results demonstrate significant sex differences in pathology in 3xTg-AD mice and suggest that these differences may be mediated by organizational actions of sex steroid hormones during development.
Alzheimer’s disease; β-amyloid; estrogen; testosterone; neonatal; sex differences