News: Serum estrogen level predicts breast cancer recurrence

May 1, 2008

In women treated for early-stage breast cancer, higher serum estrogen concentration is independently associated with an increased risk of cancer recurrence.

In women treated for early-stage breast cancer, higher serum estrogen concentration is independently associated with an increased risk of cancer recurrence, according to research published in the March issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

Cheryl L. Rock, PhD, of the University of California-San Diego in La Jolla, CA, and colleagues studied 153 case–control pairs of perimenopausal and postmenopausal women who were enrolled in the Women's Healthy Eating and Living Study.

After following the women for more than 7 years after diagnosis, the researchers found that each per unit increase in log concentrations of total, bioavailable, and free estradiol was associated with an increased risk of recurrence (HRs, 1.41, 1.26 and 1.31, respectively). They also found that the average total estradiol concentration was twice as high in women whose cancers recurred than it was in women with no cancer recurrence (22.7 vs. 10.8 pg/mL). The investigators found no association between testosterone and sex hormone binding globulin concentrations and the risk for recurrence.

Rock CL, Flatt SW, Laughlin GA, et al. Reproductive steroid hormones and recurrence-free survival in women with a history of breast cancer. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2008;17:614-620. doi:10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-07-0761.