Hormones and Cancer

, Volume 3, Issue 5–6, pp 249–260 | Cite as

Body Size in Relation to Urinary Estrogens and Estrogen Metabolites (EM) Among Premenopausal Women during the Luteal Phase

  • Jing Xie
  • A. Heather Eliassen
  • Xia Xu
  • Charles E. Matthews
  • Susan E. Hankinson
  • Regina G. Ziegler
  • Shelley S. Tworoger
Original Paper


Estrogen metabolism profiles may play an important role in the relationship between body size and breast carcinogenesis. Previously, we observed inverse associations between current body mass index (BMI) and plasma levels of parent estrogens (estrone and estradiol) among premenopausal women during both follicular and luteal phases. Using data from the Nurses’ Health Study II, we assessed whether height, current BMI, and BMI at age 18 were associated with the urinary concentrations of 15 estrogens and estrogen metabolites (jointly referred to as EM) measured during the luteal phase among 603 premenopausal women. We observed inverse associations with total EM for height (P trend = 0.01) and current BMI (P trend = 0.01), but not BMI at age 18 (P trend = 0.26). Six EMs were 18–27 % lower in women with a height 68+ versus ≤62 in., primarily in the methylated catechol pathway (P trend = 0.04). Eight EMs were 18–50 % lower in women with a BMI of 30+ versus <20, primarily in the 2-catechol and methylated catechol pathways (P trend < 0.001 for both). Our results suggest that height and current BMI are associated with estrogen metabolism profiles in premenopausal women. Further studies with timed urine and blood collections are required to confirm and extend our findings.


Body Mass Index Breast Cancer Risk Menstrual Cycle Premenopausal Woman Estrone 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We thank participants of the Nurses’ Health Study II for their longstanding contributions and support to this study. This project was supported by NCI grants R01 CA67262 and R01 CA50385, as well as the National Cancer Institute Intramural Funding Program of the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics and federal funds from the National Cancer Institute awarded under contract HHSN261200800001E to SAIC Frederick, Inc. J Xie is supported by the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, the Harvey V. Fineberg Fellowship in Cancer Prevention 2010–2011, and other scholarships of Harvard University. The content of this publication does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the US Department of Health and Human Services nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the US Government.

Conflict of Interest

None declared.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jing Xie
    • 1
    • 2
  • A. Heather Eliassen
    • 1
    • 2
  • Xia Xu
    • 3
  • Charles E. Matthews
    • 4
  • Susan E. Hankinson
    • 1
    • 2
    • 5
  • Regina G. Ziegler
    • 4
  • Shelley S. Tworoger
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Channing Division of Network Medicine, Department of MedicineBrigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  2. 2.Department of EpidemiologyHarvard School of Public HealthBostonUSA
  3. 3.Laboratory of Proteomics and Analytical Technologies, SAIC Frederick, Inc.National Cancer Institute at FrederickFrederickUSA
  4. 4.Epidemiology and Biostatistics Program, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and GeneticsNational Cancer InstituteBethesdaUSA
  5. 5.Division of Biostatistics and EpidemiologyUniversity of MassachusettsAmherstUSA

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