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Cancer Res. 1991 Jul 1;51(13):3445-50.

Peripheral hormone levels in controls and patients with prostatic cancer or benign prostatic hyperplasia: results from the Dutch-Japanese case-control study.

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Department of Endocrinology and Reproduction, Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands.


The possible relationship between changes in peripheral hormone levels and the occurrence of prostatic pathology was studied in a case-control study, involving estimation of various plasma hormones in 368 Dutch and 258 Japanese men, who were grouped as controls and patients with benign prostatic hyperplasia, focal prostatic carcinoma, or clinically evident prostatic carcinoma. Results of a number of previous, smaller studies concerning interrelationships between hormone levels in elderly men were confirmed within the Dutch and Japanese groups. Plasma levels of testosterone and estradiol were significantly lower in the Japanese men, when compared with those in Dutch men. Probably as a result of this difference in testosterone levels, the ratio between serum levels of testosterone and sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) was decreased in the Japanese men, while the ratio between the concentrations of dihydrotestosterone and testosterone was increased. These differences were also found when results from Japanese subgroups (controls and patients with prostate pathology) were compared with those from the Dutch subgroups. There were no significant differences in plasma androgen levels between Japanese or Dutch prostate cancer cases and their respective control subgroups. These findings do not support a correlation between the lower plasma testosterone levels and a lower incidence of prostate cancer in the Japanese men. Furthermore, no significant differences were found between salivary levels of testosterone or the ratio between testosterone and SHBG in the various Dutch subgroups. In Japanese benign prostatic hyperplasia patients, the testosterone to SHBG ratio was significantly increased. In conclusion, the results of this retrospective, cross-sectional study do not indicate that hormonal levels play a primary role in the origin or promotion of prostatic abnormalities. The finding of a lower plasma testosterone in the Japanese men, however, remains suggestive, warranting a more extensive prospective study.

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