Estrone and Estradiol Metabolism in Vivo in Human Breast Cysts

Steroids. 2000 Dec;65(12):883-8. doi: 10.1016/s0039-128x(00)00184-7.


Fibrocystic disease of the breast manifesting palpable cysts express breast cyst fluids frequently containing estrogen sulfates at concentrations far exceeding those found in sera of the patient. The study explored the potential of the breast cyst to synthesize some of these estrogen sulfates. Deuterated estrone and estradiol were synthesized and either (estradiol, 4 cases or estrone, 2 cases) was injected into a cyst. The cyst was aspirated at approximately 0, 4 and 8 h, the target being 1 ml, 50% and complete aspiration respectively. Metabolites were purified sequentially by ether extraction, enzymatic hydrolysis of estrogen conjugates, chromatography on Sephadex LH 20 and identified by gas chromatography linked to mass spectrometry. The unconjugated fraction isolated from the ether extract was subjected to the same purification and detection scheme. Among the conjugates, deuterated estrone sulfate was the major metabolite of either precursor in all studies, while estradiol sulfate was not detected in any of the 6 experiments. The sulfate fractions also yielded traces of 16alpha-hydroxyestrone (2 studies), 4-hydroxyestrone (4 studies) and 2-hydroxyestrone (1 study). In the unconjugated fraction, one study with deuterated estradiol, 4- hydroxyestrone was obtained. In one study with deuterated estrone, traces of 2-hydroxyestrone and 16alpha- hydroxyestrone were obtained. These novel data are significant because patients with fibrocystic disease are at slightly elevated risk for developing breast cancer and 16alpha-hydroxyestrone and 4- hydroxyestrone are reported carcinogens.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arylsulfotransferase / metabolism
  • Biopsy, Needle
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System / metabolism
  • Deuterium
  • Estradiol / metabolism*
  • Estradiol / pharmacokinetics
  • Estrone / analogs & derivatives*
  • Estrone / analysis
  • Estrone / metabolism*
  • Estrone / pharmacokinetics
  • Exudates and Transudates / chemistry
  • Exudates and Transudates / enzymology
  • Female
  • Fibrocystic Breast Disease / enzymology
  • Fibrocystic Breast Disease / metabolism*
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry
  • Humans
  • Hydroxysteroid Dehydrogenases / metabolism
  • Time Factors


  • Estrone
  • Estradiol
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System
  • Deuterium
  • Hydroxysteroid Dehydrogenases
  • Arylsulfotransferase
  • estrone sulfate