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Oncology. 2001;60(4):355-60.

Estrogens, testosterone and sex hormone binding globulin in relation to liver cancer in men.

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  • 1Department of Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Mass., USA.



Liver disease in men has been associated with an imbalance of serum estradiol and testosterone. We have evaluated whether serum estradiol and testosterone levels are altered in male liver cancer patients as a result of a specific effect of the disease or because of the associated liver damage.


We have performed a hospital-based case-control study in Greece. The study subjects were all men; 73 patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), 25 with metastatic liver cancer (MLC) patients and 111 control subjects. Serum estradiol, testosterone and sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) levels were measured for each subject. Data were analyzed by multiple linear regression.


Mean serum estradiol levels were significantly higher among HCC patients as well as among patients with MLC compared to controls. Mean serum testosterone levels were significantly lower among HCC patients as well as among patients with MLC compared to controls. The mean SHBG levels did not differ significantly between the groups. After controlling for the degree of liver damage, the elevated serum estradiol and reduced serum testosterone levels among HCC and MLC patients were no longer significant.


Changes in sex steroid levels among patients with liver damage are due to the liver damage per se and not to specific disease processes.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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