Hormones and Cancer

, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp 65–74 | Cite as

Alcohol Consumption and Urinary Estrogens and Estrogen Metabolites in Premenopausal Women

  • Terryl J. HartmanEmail author
  • Julia S. Sisti
  • Susan E. Hankinson
  • Xia Xu
  • A. Heather Eliassen
  • Regina Ziegler
Original Paper


In a cross-sectional analysis, we evaluated the associations of usual total alcohol and wine intake with a comprehensive profile of mid-luteal phase urinary estrogens and estrogen metabolites (referred to jointly as EM) in a sample of 603 premenopausal women participating in the Nurses’ Health Study II (NHSII). A total of 15 individual EM (pmol/mg creatinine) were measured by a liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) method with high accuracy and reproducibility. We used linear mixed models to calculate the adjusted geometric means of individual EM, EM grouped by metabolic pathways, and pathway ratios by category of alcohol intake with non-drinkers of alcohol as the referent. Total alcohol intake was not associated with total EM but was positively associated with estradiol (26 % higher among women consuming >15 g/day vs. non-drinkers; P trend = 0.03). Wine consumption was positively associated with a number of EM measures including estradiol (22 % higher among women consuming ≥5 drinks/week vs. non-drinkers, P trend < 0.0001). In conclusion, the total alcohol intake was positively and significantly associated with urinary estradiol levels. Some differences in urinary estrogen metabolites were observed with wine drinking, when compared with non-drinkers. This study strengthens the evidence that alcohol consumption might play a role in breast cancer and other estrogen-related conditions. Additional studies of premenopausal women are needed to further explore the association of alcohol, particularly the specific types of alcohol, on patterns of estrogen metabolism in blood, urine, and tissue.


Breast Cancer Risk Premenopausal Woman Luteal Phase Estrogen Metabolite Estrogen Metabolism 
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.



This study was supported by NIH UM1 CA176726 (Walter C. Willett) and R01 CA67262 (Susan E. Hankinson), and by Research Grants CA67262 and CA50385 from the National Cancer Institute (NCI). It was also supported by the Intramural Research Program of the NCI Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics and with the federal funds of the NCI awarded under Contract HHSN261200900001E to SAIC-Frederick, now Leidos Biomedical Research, Inc. Julia Sisti was supported by training grants R25 CA098566 and T32 CA900137. We would like to thank the participants and staff of the Nurses’ Health Studies for their valuable contributions. The authors assume full responsibility for analyses and interpretation of these data.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

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.

No potential conflicts of interest were disclosed by the other authors.

Ethics Approval

This study was approved by the Committee on the Use of Human Subjects in Research at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (Boston, MA).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York (outside the USA) 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Terryl J. Hartman
    • 1
    Email author
  • Julia S. Sisti
    • 2
    • 3
  • Susan E. Hankinson
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  • Xia Xu
    • 5
  • A. Heather Eliassen
    • 2
    • 3
  • Regina Ziegler
    • 6
  1. 1.Department of Epidemiology, Rollins School of Public Health & Winship Cancer InstituteEmory UniversityAtlantaUSA
  2. 2.Department of EpidemiologyHarvard T. H. Chan School of Public HealthBostonUSA
  3. 3.Channing Division of Network Medicine, Department of MedicineBrigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  4. 4.Division of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, School of Public Health and Health SciencesUniversity of MassachusettsAmherstUSA
  5. 5.Cancer Research Technology Program, Leidos Biomedical Research, Inc.Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer ResearchFrederickUSA
  6. 6.Division of Cancer Epidemiology and GeneticsNational Cancer InstituteBethesdaUSA

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