Serum sex hormone levels and hormone receptor status in identifying breast cancer risk in women

Indian J Cancer. 2020 Nov 2. doi: 10.4103/ijc.IJC_400_19. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

Background: The association of sex hormones with receptor status and breast cancer (BC) incidence is studied with inconclusive results. The present work assessed the serum estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone concentrations and estrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PR), and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) status of newly diagnosed Sri Lankan BC patients and studied the possibility of risk assessment for BC using these parameters.

Methods: Serum estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone concentrations of newly diagnosed BC patients (n = 155) were assessed and compared with apparently healthy age-matched women (n = 75). Hormone concentrations were assessed with an enzyme immunoassay competition method with fluorescent detection (Biomerieux, France). Hormone receptor statuses were recorded from histopathology reports.

Results: Estrogen and progesterone concentrations were not significantly different according to the menstrual phase of premenopausal BC or healthy women or according to the menopausal status. Testosterone concentration of BC patients was significantly (P = 0.001) lower than in apparently healthy women. Estrogen and progesterone concentrations were not significantly different according to ER and PR status. However, progesterone concentrations of postmenopausal were significantly different (P = 0.021) among HER2 overexpressed women when compared to HER2-negative women. Postmenopausal women with progesterone level below 0.25 ng/mL were more likely to have HER2 overexpressed (P = 0.002).

Conclusions: Serum estrogen and progesterone concentrations of BC patients were not significantly different when compared with apparently healthy women. Women with testosterone level below 0.26 ng/mL demonstrated a higher risk of having BC. Serum progesterone concentrations of BC patients were significantly higher among HER2 overexpressed women compared to HER2-negative women.

Keywords: Breast cancer; estrogen; hormone receptor status; progesterone; testosterone.