Objective: The purpose of our study was to investigate the secretion of immunoactive and bioactive luteinizing hormone in postmenopausal women with endometrial cancer.
Study design: Seventeen postmenopausal women with endometrial cancer and nine without cancer were studied. Blood samples were collected at 15-minute intervals for 360 minutes. All samples were assayed for bioactive luteinizing hormone by rat interstitial cell testosterone assay and for immunoactive luteinizing hormone by radioimmunoassay. Serum pooled from 6-hour sampling was assayed for follicle-stimulating hormone, total estradiol, unbound estradiol, and estrone.
Results: Patients with endometrial cancer had significantly (p < 0.01) higher bioactive luteinizing hormone levels (mean +/- SE 276 +/- 26 IU/L) as compared with those of control women (144 +/- 18 IU/L). Bioactive/immunoactive ratios of luteinizing hormone were significantly higher (p < 0.01) in women with cancer (5.8 +/- 0.7) than in those without cancer (2.5 +/- 0.5). There was a significant (p < 0.001) positive correlation (r = 0.582) between unbound estradiol levels and bioactive luteinizing hormone concentrations.
Conclusions: There is an increase in bioactive luteinizing hormone secretion in postmenopausal women with endometrial cancer. This could lead to an increase in ovarian androgen production resulting in increased prehormone availability for estrogen formation from peripheral conversion.