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J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1999 Sep;84(9):3146-50.

Estrogen receptor polymorphism predicts the onset of natural and surgical menopause.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine III, Erasmus University Medical School, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.


Age at menopause and risk of hysterectomy have strong genetic components, but the genes involved remain ill defined. We investigated whether genetic variation at the estrogen receptor (ER) gene contributes to the variability in the onset of menopause in 900 postmenopausal women, aged 55-80 yr, of the Rotterdam Study, a population-based cohort study in The Netherlands. Gynecological information was obtained, and if women reported surgical menopause, validation of type and indication of surgery was accomplished by checking medical records. The ER genotypes (PP, Pp, and pp) were assessed by PCR using the PvuII endonuclease. Compared with women carrying the pp genotype, homozygous PP women had a 1.1-yr (P < 0.02) earlier onset of menopause. Furthermore, an allele dose effect was observed, corresponding to a 0.5-yr (P < 0.02) earlier onset of menopause per copy of the P allele. The risk of surgical menopause was 2.4 (95% confidence interval, 1.5-3.8) times higher for women carrying the PP genotype compared to those in the pp group, with the most prominent effect in women who underwent hysterectomy due to fibroids or menorrhagia. We conclude that genetic variations of the ER gene are related to the onset of natural menopause and the risk of surgical menopause, especially hysterectomy.

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