Hormone levels in older women: a study of post-menopausal breast cancer patients and healthy population controls

Br J Cancer. 1990 Feb;61(2):298-302. doi: 10.1038/bjc.1990.56.


Hormone concentrations in blood and total 12 h urine values were compared between 40 post-menopausal women with breast cancer and 40 control women in a study which carefully controlled for the possible confounding effects of age, weight and pregnancy history by individually matching cases and controls on these factors. Breast cancer cases had received only surgical treatment for their localised disease, which was diagnosed from 1 to 9 years before hormonal evaluation. Cases had 15% higher serum oestradiol levels (P = 0.02), 40% more urinary oestradiol (P = 0.03) and 44% more urinary oestriol (P = 0.04) than control women. Cases also had higher levels of serum and urinary oestrone, but these differences were not statistically significant. The percentages of serum oestradiol not bound to albumin or sex-hormone binding globulin did not differ between cases and controls, nor were there statistically significant differences in the serum levels of prolactin, sex-hormone binding globulin or dehydroepiandrosterone sulphate. These results provide further support for the hypothesis that breast cancer risk is determined in part by post-menopausal serum oestrogen concentration.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Dehydroepiandrosterone / blood
  • Estradiol / metabolism*
  • Estrone / metabolism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Prolactin / blood
  • Sex Hormone-Binding Globulin / metabolism


  • Sex Hormone-Binding Globulin
  • Estrone
  • Dehydroepiandrosterone
  • Estradiol
  • Prolactin