Are Fertility-Related Hormone and Breast Cancer Development Linked?
Posted: Tuesday, November 6, 2018
According to a study published in the International Journal of Cancer, women with high levels of anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) prior to menopause have an increased risk of developing breast cancer. These study findings suggest that concentration of this hormone, which is a strong predictor of age at menopause, may prove to be a useful biomarker for breast cancer.
“The link we found between [AMH] and breast cancer risk is interesting because few markers of risk in the blood have been identified for premenopausal women,” noted researcher Anne Zeleniuch-Jacquotte, MD, of the NYU School of Medicine, in a press release from The Institute of Cancer Research. “Our study found a moderate risk increase, and we hope additional markers can now be found to help substantially improve individual risk prediction.”
The researchers analyzed 5,957 blood samples from premenopausal participants in 10 different cohort studies across the United States, the UK, Italy, and Sweden. A total of 2,835 invasive (80%) and in situ (20%) breast cancer cases were matched by age at the time of blood donation to a control group (n = 3,122). After adjusting for breast cancer risk factors such as body mass index and family history, they compared the top and bottom quartiles of AMH levels in participants and noted a statistically significant trend between increasing risk for breast cancer development and increasing AMH concentration.
The observed trend was significant only for tumors positive for both estrogen receptor and progesterone receptor. The odds ratio for women in the top quartile versus those in the bottom quartile was 1.60. The study found that there is a 60% increase in the risk of total breast cancer development for women in the top quartile versus the bottom quartile. Overall, the researchers found that women with the highest levels of AMH are 96% more likely to develop breast cancer driven by estrogen and progesterone than women in the bottom quartile.