Cancer Causes & Control

, Volume 22, Issue 5, pp 689–695 | Cite as

Placental characteristics as a proxy measure of serum hormone and protein levels during pregnancy with a male fetus

  • Britton Trabert
  • Matthew P. Longnecker
  • Barry I. Graubard
  • Mark A. Klebanoff
  • Frank Z. Stanczyk
  • Katherine A. McGlynn
Original paper

Abstract

Objective

In utero exposure to steroid hormones may be related to risk of some cancers such as testicular germ cell tumors (TGCT). To determine whether placental characteristics are good surrogate measures of maternal biomarker levels, we evaluated the correlations in mothers of sons at higher (whites, n = 150) and lower (blacks, n = 150) risk of TGCT. Associations with birth weight were also examined.

Methods

All mothers, participants in the Collaborative Perinatal Project, were primigravidas who gave birth to male singletons. Associations between placental weight and placental thickness and third-trimester biomarker levels were evaluated using linear regression. Partial correlation coefficients for placental characteristics and birth weight were also estimated.

Results

Placental weight was positively correlated with alpha-fetoprotein (AFP), sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG), testosterone, estradiol and estriol in whites, and AFP and estriol in blacks. Placental thickness was not associated with any biomarker. After adjustment for placental weight, birth weight was not correlated with any biomarker.

Conclusions

In these data, placental weight was modestly correlated with third-trimester biomarker level; however, it appeared to be a better surrogate for third-trimester biomarker level than birth weight. Placental thickness had limited utility as a surrogate measure for biomarker levels.

Keywords

Cancer risk Placental weight Birth weight Maternal hormones 

Notes

Acknowledgments

Support for this research was provided by the Intramural Research Programs of the National Cancer Institute, the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest of financial disclosures.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. (outside the USA) 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Britton Trabert
    • 1
  • Matthew P. Longnecker
    • 2
  • Barry I. Graubard
    • 3
  • Mark A. Klebanoff
    • 4
  • Frank Z. Stanczyk
    • 5
  • Katherine A. McGlynn
    • 1
  1. 1.Hormonal and Reproductive Epidemiology Branch, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and GeneticsNational Cancer Institute, NIH, DHHSRockvilleUSA
  2. 2.Epidemiology BranchNational Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, NIH, DHHSResearch Triangle ParkUSA
  3. 3.Biostatistics Branch, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and GeneticsNational Cancer Institute, NIH, DHHSRockvilleUSA
  4. 4.Division of Epidemiology, Statistics and Prevention ResearchEunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, NIH, DHHSBethesdaUSA
  5. 5.Departments of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and Preventive MedicineUniversity of Southern California Keck School of MedicineLos AngelesUSA

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