Background: Epidemiologic data and animal models suggest that, despite the predominant role of human papillomavirus infection, sex steroid hormones are also involved in the etiology of invasive cervical carcinoma (ICC). Methods: Ninety-nine ICC cases, 121 cervical intraepithelial neoplasia grade 3 (CIN3) cases and 2 control women matched with each case for center, age, menopausal status and blood collection-related variables, were identified in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study. Circulating levels of testosterone (T) and estradiol (E2); dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS); progesterone (premenopausal women); and sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) were measured using immunoassays. Levels of free (f) T and E2 were calculated from absolute concentrations of T, E2, and SHBG. Odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were computed using regularized conditional logistic regression. Results: Among premenopausal women, associations with ICC were observed for fT (OR for highest vs. lowest tertile = 5.16, 95% CI, 1.50-20.1). SHBG level was associated with a significant downward trend in ICC risk. T, E2, fE2, and DHEAS showed nonsignificant positive association with ICC. Progesterone was uninfluential. Among postmenopausal women, associations with ICC were found for T (OR = 3.14; 95% CI, 1.21-9.37), whereas E2 and fT showed nonsignificant positive association. SHBG level was unrelated to ICC risk in postmenopausal women. No associations between any hormone and CIN3 were detected in either pre- or postmenopausal women. Conclusions: Our findings suggest for the first time that T and possibly E2 may be involved in the etiology of ICC. Impact: The responsiveness of cervical tumors to hormone modulators is worth exploring. ©2011 AACR.

Original publication




Journal article


Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention

Publication Date





2532 - 2540