This paper presents a quantitative review of the data from eight prospective epidemiological studies, comparing mean serum concentrations of sex hormones in men who subsequently developed prostate cancer with those in men who remained cancer free. The hormones reviewed have been postulated to be involved in the aetiology of prostate cancer: androgens and their metabolites testosterone (T), non-SHBG-bound testosterone (non-SHBG-bound T), di-hydrotestosterone (DHT), androstanediol glucuronide (A-diol-g), androstenedione (A-dione), dehydroepiandrosterone sulphate (DHEAS), sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG), the oestrogens, oestrone and oestradiol, luteinizing hormone (LH) and prolactin. The ratio of the mean hormone concentration in prostate cancer cases to that of controls (and its 95% confidence interval (CI)) was calculated for each study, and the results summarized by calculating the weighted average of the log ratios. No differences in the average concentrations of the hormones were found between prostate cancer cases and controls, with the possible exception of A-diol-g which exhibited a 5% higher mean serum concentration among cases relative to controls (ratio 1.05, 95% CI 1.00-1.11), based on 644 cases and 1048 controls. These data suggest that there are no large differences in circulating hormones between men who subsequently go on to develop prostate cancer and those who remain free of the disease. Further research is needed to substantiate the small difference found in A-diol-g concentrations between prostate cancer cases and controls.

Original publication




Journal article


Br J Cancer

Publication Date





930 - 934


Adult, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Gonadal Steroid Hormones, Humans, Incidence, Male, Middle Aged, Prospective Studies, Prostatic Neoplasms