Usual physical activity and endogenous sex hormones in postmenopausal women: the European prospective investigation into cancer-norfolk population study.
Cancer epidemiology, biomarkers & prevention : a publication of the American Association for Cancer Research, cosponsored by the American Society of Preventive Oncology 2007 ; 16: 900-5.
PubMed ID : 17507613
PMCID : 0
Short-term trials indicate that intensive physical activity may influence endogenous sex hormone concentrations. However, the relationship between usual daily physical activity and endogenous hormones in postmenopausal women in the general population is still uncertain.
To determine the relationship between usual physical activity and endogenous sex hormones in postmenopausal women. A cross-sectional population-based study of 2,082 postmenopausal women ages 55 to 81 years, residing in the general community of Norfolk, United Kingdom, and not currently using hormone replacement therapy were chosen to participate. Physical activity in the past 1 year was assessed using a validated questionnaire, and endogenous sex hormone and sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) concentrations were determined.
Usual physical activity levels were inversely associated with circulating concentrations of testosterone and estradiol, testosterone/SHBG ratio, and positively associated with SHBG. These associations were only slightly attenuated after adjusting for potential covariates including body mass index, smoking status, alcohol intake, and reproductive variables. Testosterone concentrations and testosterone/SHBG ratios were 19% [95% confidence interval (95% CI), 9-27%, P < 0.001] and 24.0% (95% CI, 13-34% P < 0.001) lower, respectively, whereas estradiol concentrations were 6% (95% CI, 0-12%; P < 0.05) lower in the highest compared with lowest activity levels, respectively. A decreasing trend for the estradiol/SHBG ratio and 17alpha-hydroxyprogesterone concentrations was also observed. Androstenedione levels did not differ significantly according to physical activity.
Higher usual physical activity levels among postmenopausal women seem to be related to lower endogenous testosterone and estradiol concentrations. This may be one mechanism that could partly explain the reported inverse relationship between physical activity and breast cancer risk in some studies.