The lignan enterolactone produced by the intestinal microflora from dietary precursors has been hypothesized to protect against hormone-dependent cancers. We conducted a nested case-control study to examine the relationship between serum enterolactone concentration and risk of breast cancer. Enterolactone concentrations were measured by time-resolved fluoroimmunoassay in serum collected at 4 independent cross-sectional population surveys from 206 women with breast cancer diagnosed during follow-up (mean 8.0 years) and from 215 controls frequency-matched to cases by study cohort, 5-year age group and study area. Mean serum enterolactone concentration (nmol/l) did not significantly differ between case and control subjects [25.2 (SD 22.2) vs. 24.0 (SD 21.3), respectively]. Odds ratios for breast cancer risk estimated by conditional logistic regression for increasing concentration of enterolactone in quartiles were 1.00 (referent), 1.67 (95% CI 0.95-2.95), 1.71 (95% CI 0.96-3.06) and 1.30 (95% CI 0.73-2.31), and p for trend was 0.48. Our findings do not support the hypothesis that high serum enterolactone concentration is associated with reduced risk of breast cancer.
Copyright 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.