Case-control study of endogenous sex steroid hormones and risk of endometrial cancer. Academic Article uri icon


  • Epidemiologic evidence regarding the role of endogenous sex hormones in endometrial cancer etiology remains inconsistent. The objective of this study was to investigate if circulating levels of endogenous estrone, estradiol, sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG), testosterone, and androstenedione are associated with endometrial cancer risk.We conducted a population-based case-control study of 522 incident endometrial cancer cases and 976 population controls, in Alberta, Canada from 2002 to 2006. Study participants completed in-person interviews and provided fasting blood samples. Sex hormone levels were determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays.Higher levels of androstenedione were associated with increased endometrial cancer risk (OR 1.44, 95% CI 1.04-2.02). Endometrial cancer risk in pre- and peri-menopausal women was reduced for the highest versus lowest quartiles of estrone (OR 0.44, 95% CI 0.22-0.88) and estradiol (OR 0.30, 95% CI 0.14-0.65), but in post-menopausal women, the endometrial cancer risk was increased for the highest versus lowest quartile of androstenedione (OR 1.82, 95% CI 1.25-2.65). In addition, endometrial cancer risk in normal/underweight women was decreased for the highest versus lowest quartile of serum SHBG (OR 0.39, 95% CI 0.19-0.84).Overall, positive associations were found for androstenedione concentrations, while sub-group analyses revealed = inverse associations with estrogens and SHBG. Results of this study provide empirical evidence for the role of circulating sex hormones in endometrial cancer etiology and highlight the importance of modifiable factors that contribute to changes in sex hormone concentration levels.

publication date

  • February 2020