Cancer Causes & Control

, Volume 22, Issue 6, pp 827–836

Association of serum α-tocopherol with sex steroid hormones and interactions with smoking: implications for prostate cancer risk

  • Alison M. Mondul
  • Sabine Rohrmann
  • Andy Menke
  • Manning Feinleib
  • William G. Nelson
  • Elizabeth A. Platz
  • Demetrius Albanes
Original paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10552-011-9753-4

Cite this article as:
Mondul, A.M., Rohrmann, S., Menke, A. et al. Cancer Causes Control (2011) 22: 827. doi:10.1007/s10552-011-9753-4

Abstract

Background

Vitamin E may protect against prostate cancer, possibly only in smokers and, we hypothesize, through altered sex steroid hormones. A controlled trial in smokers showed that sex hormone levels were inversely associated with baseline serum α-tocopherol and decreased in response to vitamin E supplementation. The vitamin E-hormone relation is understudied in non-smokers.

Methods

Serum sex steroid hormones and α-tocopherol were measured for 1,457 men in NHANES III. Multivariable-adjusted geometric mean hormone concentrations by α-tocopherol quintile were estimated.

Results

We observed lower mean testosterone, estradiol, and SHBG concentrations with increasing serum α-tocopherol (Q1 = 5.5 and Q5 = 4.6 ng/ml, p-trend = 0.0007; Q1 = 37.8 and Q5 = 33.1 pg/ml, p-trend = 0.02; Q1 = 38.8 and Q5 = 30.6 pg/ml, p-trend = 0.05, respectively). Interactions between serum α-tocopherol and exposure to cigarette smoke for total testosterone, total estradiol, and SHBG were found with the inverse relation observed only among smokers.

Conclusions

Results from this nationally representative, cross-sectional study indicate an inverse association between serum α-tocopherol and circulating testosterone, estradiol, and SHBG, but only in men who smoked. Our findings support vitamin E selectively influencing sex hormones in smokers and afford possible mechanisms through which vitamin E may impact prostate cancer risk.

Keywords

Gonadal steroid hormones Alpha-Tocopherol Smoking Prostatic neoplasms Cross-sectional studies 

Copyright information

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

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alison M. Mondul
    • 1
    • 2
  • Sabine Rohrmann
    • 3
  • Andy Menke
    • 4
    • 5
  • Manning Feinleib
    • 4
  • William G. Nelson
    • 6
    • 7
    • 8
    • 9
    • 10
  • Elizabeth A. Platz
    • 4
    • 9
    • 10
  • Demetrius Albanes
    • 1
  1. 1.Nutritional Epidemiology Branch, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and GeneticsNational Cancer Institute, NIH, Department of Health and Human ServicesBethesdaUSA
  2. 2.RockvilleUSA
  3. 3.Institute of Social and Preventive MedicineUniversity of ZurichZurichSwitzerland
  4. 4.Department of EpidemiologyJohns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public HealthBaltimoreUSA
  5. 5.Welch Center for Prevention, Epidemiology, and Clinical ResearchJohns Hopkins UniversityBaltimoreUSA
  6. 6.Department of PathologyThe Johns Hopkins University School of MedicineBaltimoreUSA
  7. 7.Department of UrologyThe Johns Hopkins University School of MedicineBaltimoreUSA
  8. 8.Department of OncologyThe Johns Hopkins University School of MedicineBaltimoreUSA
  9. 9.The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns HopkinsThe Johns Hopkins University School of MedicineBaltimoreUSA
  10. 10.The Brady Urological Research InstituteThe Johns Hopkins University School of MedicineBaltimoreUSA

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