Associations among mammographic density, circulating sex hormones, and polymorphisms in sex hormone metabolism genes in postmenopausal women.
Cancer epidemiology, biomarkers & prevention : a publication of the American Association for Cancer Research, cosponsored by the American Society of Preventive Oncology 2006 ; 15: 1502-8.
PubMed ID : 16896040
Mammographic density and serum sex hormone levels are important risk factors for breast cancer, but their associations with one another are unclear. We studied these phenotypes, together with single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) in genes related to sex hormone metabolism, in a cross-sectional study of 1,413 postmenopausal women from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition-Norfolk. All women were >1 year postmenopausal and had not taken hormone replacement therapy for >3 months before sampling. Serum levels of 7 sex hormones [estradiol, testosterone, sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG), androstenedione, 17-OH-progesterone, estrone, and estrone sulfate] and 15 SNPs in the CYP17, CYP19, EDH17B2, SHBG, COMT, and CYP1B1 genes were studied. Mammograms nearest in time to the blood sampling were identified through the national breast screening program and visually assessed by three radiologists using the Boyd six-category and Wolfe four-category scales. We found a weak positive association between mammographic density and SHBG levels (P = 0.09) but no association with any other hormones. None of the SNPs, including those shown previously to be associated with estradiol or SHBG, showed significant associations with density. We conclude that mammographic density is largely independent of postmenopausal steroid hormone levels, indicating that these risk factors have, to a large extent, an independent etiology and suggesting that they may be independent predictors of breast cancer risk.