Background: The normal breast cells develop into malignant cells as a result of a complex interplay between genetic, environmental, nutritional and hormonal factors. Attained adult stature and insulin levels, risk factors for breast cancer, may also vary in response to the same factors. Thus, we hypothesize that 17β-estradiol, a key factor in the carcinogenesis of the breast, may vary in response to adult height in combination with insulin levels of possible importance of breast cancer risk.
Methods: Among 204 healthy women, aged 25-35 years who participated in the Norwegian EBBA-I study, 17β-estradiol concentrations were measured in daily saliva samples throughout one entire menstrual cycle using radioimmunoassay (RIA). Attained height (cm) was measured, and serum concentrations of insulin were determined in fasting blood samples. The associations between adult height, insulin and 17β-estradiol levels throughout a menstrual cycle were studied using multivariate linear regression analyses and linear mixed models for repeated measures. Adjustments for potential confounding factors were performed.
Results: A 37.2 % increase in 17β-estradiol levels was observed during the entire menstrual cycle among women with an adult height ≥170 cm (upper tertile) and insulin levels ≥ 90 pmol/L (upper tertile) compared to women with the same attained adult height, and insulin levels < 90pmol/L. The association was even more pronounced when we looked into those women with attained adult height ≥170 cm (upper tertile) and serum insulin ≥ 101 pmol/L (upper quartile) (Fig. 1). Adjustments for potential confounding factors were performed.
Conclusion: Our findings support that premenopausal levels of 17β-estradiol vary in response to adult height and insulin levels, suggesting that women who become taller are put at risk for higher estradiol levels throughout the entire menstrual cycle when their insulin levels rise, of possible importance for breast cancer risk.
Citation Information: Cancer Res 2009;69(2 Suppl):Abstract nr 4078.
- ©2009 American Association for Cancer Research.