Hormones and Cancer

, Volume 8, Issue 2, pp 119–126 | Cite as

Higher Dihydrotestosterone Is Associated with the Incidence of Lung Cancer in Older Men

  • Yi X. ChanEmail author
  • Helman Alfonso
  • S. A. Paul Chubb
  • David J. Handelsman
  • P. Gerry Fegan
  • Graeme J. Hankey
  • Jonathan Golledge
  • Leon Flicker
  • Bu B. YeapEmail author
Original Paper


Advancing age is associated with increased cancer incidence, but the role of sex hormones as risk predictors for common cancers in older men remains uncertain. This study was performed to assess associations of testosterone (T), dihydrotestosterone (DHT) and estradiol (E2), with incident prostate, lung and colorectal cancer in community-dwelling older men. Plasma T, DHT and E2 were assayed using liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry between 2001 and 2004 in 3690 men. Cancer outcomes until 20 June 2013 were ascertained using data linkage. Analyses were performed using proportional hazards competing-risks models, and adjustments were made for potential confounding factors including smoking status. Results are expressed as subhazard ratios (SHR). There were 348, 107 and 137 cases of prostate, lung and colorectal cancers respectively during a median of 9.1-year follow-up. Mean T was comparable in current and non-smokers, whilst mean DHT was lower in ex- and current smokers compared to non-smokers. After adjusting for confounders including smoking, higher T or DHT was associated with an increased incidence of lung cancer (SHR = 1.30, 95% CI 1.06–1.60; p = 0.012 per 1 SD increase in T and SHR = 1.29, 95% CI 1.08–1.54; p = 0.004 for DHT). Sex hormones were not associated with prostate or colorectal cancer. In older men, higher T or DHT predict increased incidence of lung cancer over the next decade. Sex hormones are not associated with incident prostate or colorectal cancer. Further studies are warranted to determine if similar associations of sex hormones with lung cancer are present in other populations and to investigate potential underlying mechanisms.


Lung Cancer Prostate Cancer Androgen Receptor Luteinising Hormone Standard Deviation Increase 
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 the staff of the Pathwest Laboratory Medicine, Fremantle, and the Royal Perth Hospitals, Perth, the ANZAC Research Institute, Sydney, the Data Linkage Unit, Health Department of Western Australia, for their assistance. We especially thank all the men and staff who participated in the Western Australian Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Program and the Health In Men Study.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

The Human Research Ethics Committee of the University of Western Australia approved the study protocol, and all men provided written informed consent to participate in the study.

Grants and Funding

Hormone assays were funded by research grants from the Fremantle Hospital Medical Research Foundation, Fremantle Hospital, Western Australia, and the Ada Bartholomew Medical Research Trust, University of Western Australia. The Health In Men Study was funded by Project Grants 279408, 379600, 403963, 513823, 634492, 1045710 and 1060557 from the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia. Yi X. Chan is supported by the Warren Jones/University of Western Australia Postgraduate Scholarship.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

12672_2017_287_MOESM1_ESM.docx (51 kb)
Supplementary Table 1 (DOCX 51 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of MedicineUniversity of Western AustraliaPerthAustralia
  2. 2.Department of Endocrinology and DiabetesFiona Stanley HospitalPerthAustralia
  3. 3.School of Public Health, Department of Epidemiology and BiostatisticsCurtin UniversityPerthAustralia
  4. 4.Pathwest Laboratory MedicineFiona Stanley HospitalPerthAustralia
  5. 5.ANZAC Research InstituteUniversity of SydneySydneyAustralia
  6. 6.Department of NeurologySir Charles Gairdner HospitalPerthAustralia
  7. 7.Queensland Research Centre for Peripheral Vascular Disease, College of Medicine and DentistryJames Cook UniversityTownsvilleAustralia
  8. 8.Department of Vascular and Endovascular SurgeryThe Townsville HospitalTownsvilleAustralia
  9. 9.Western Australian Centre for Health and Ageing, Centre for Medical ResearchUniversity of Western AustraliaPerthAustralia

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