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Keywords:

  • prospective;
  • prostate cancer;
  • serum;
  • androgen;
  • EPIC

Abstract

We examined the hypothesis that serum concentrations of circulating androgens and sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) are associated with risk for prostate cancer in a case-control study nested in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC). Concentrations of androstenedione, testosterone, androstanediol glucuronide and SHBG were measured in serum samples for 643 prostate cancer cases and 643 matched control participants, and concentrations of free testosterone were calculated. Conditional logistic regression models were used to calculate odds ratios for risk of prostate cancer in relation to the serum concentration of each hormone. After adjustment for potential confounders, there was no significant association with overall risk for prostate cancer for serum total or free testosterone concentrations (highest versus the lowest thirds: OR, 1.02; 95% CI, 0.73–1.41 and OR, 1.07, 95% CI, 0.74–1.55, respectively) or for other androgens or SHBG. Subgroup analyses showed significant heterogeneity for androstenedione by cancer stage, with a significant inverse association of androstenedione concentration and risk for advanced prostate cancer. There were also weak positive associations between free testosterone concentration and risk for total prostate cancer among younger men and risk for high-grade disease. In summary, in this large nested case-control study, concentrations of circulating androgens or SHBG were not strongly associated with risk for total prostate cancer. However, our findings are compatible with a positive association of free testosterone with risk in younger men and possible heterogeneity in the association with androstenedione concentration by stage of disease; these findings warrant further investigation. © 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.