Postmenopausal endogenous oestrogens and risk of endometrial cancer: results of a prospective study

Br J Cancer. 2001 Apr 6;84(7):975-81. doi: 10.1054/bjoc.2001.1704.


We assessed the association of postmenopausal serum levels of oestrogens and sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) with endometrial cancer risk in a case-control study nested within the NYU Women's Health Study cohort. Among 7054 women postmenopausal at enrolment, 57 cases of endometrial cancer were diagnosed a median of 5.5 years after blood donation. Each case was compared to 4 controls matched on age, menopausal status at enrolment, and serum storage duration. Endometrial cancer risk increased with higher levels of oestradiol (odds ratio = 2.4 in highest vs lowest tertile, P for trend = 0.02), percent free oestradiol (OR = 3.5, P< 0.001), and oestrone (OR = 3.9, P< 0.001). Risk decreased with higher levels of percent SHBG-bound oestradiol (OR = 0.43, P = 0.03) and SHBG (OR = 0.39, P = 0.01). Trends remained in the same directions after adjusting for height and body mass index. A positive association of body mass index with risk was substantially reduced after adjusting for oestrone level. Our results indicate that risk of endometrial cancer increases with increasing postmenopausal oestrogen levels but do not provide strong support for a role of body mass index independent of its effect on oestrogen levels.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Body Mass Index
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Endometrial Neoplasms / blood*
  • Endometrial Neoplasms / etiology
  • Estrogens / blood*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Postmenopause / blood*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Hormone-Binding Globulin / metabolism


  • Estrogens
  • Sex Hormone-Binding Globulin