Ethnic differences in post-menopausal plasma oestrogen levels: high oestrone levels in Japanese-American women despite low weight

Br J Cancer. 2000 Jun;82(11):1867-70. doi: 10.1054/bjoc.1999.1082.


Breast cancer incidence in Japanese-American women is approaching that of US Whites. We investigated whether this shift is paralleled by similar post-menopausal plasma hormone levels in the two ethnic groups. We also included African-American and Latina women to further our understanding of possible ethnic differences in oestrogen metabolism. We measured androstenedione (A), oestrone (E1) and oestradiol (E2) in 30 Japanese-American, 39 non-Latina White ('White'), 66 African-American and 58 Latina women. The (age-adjusted) geometric mean E1 levels were 34 pg ml(-1) in Japanese-Americans, 28 pg ml(-1) in Whites, 35 pg ml(-1) in African-Americans and 31 pg ml(-1) in Latinas. After adjustment for body mass index, Japanese-Americans had the highest mean E1 value of all groups and this was statistically significantly greater than the value for Whites (P(t-test) = 0.05). The geometric mean A concentrations were also highest in Japanese-Americans. There was little ethnic difference in E2 levels. In conclusion, post-menopausal plasma oestrogen levels in Japanese-American women are at least as high as those in Whites.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Asian Americans*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Estrogens / blood*
  • Estrone / blood*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Japan / ethnology
  • Middle Aged
  • Postmenopause*


  • Estrogens
  • Estrone