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Br J Cancer. 2010 Jun 29;103(1):90-3. doi: 10.1038/sj.bjc.6605719. Epub 2010 Jun 1.

gamma-Glutamyl transferase and breast cancer risk.

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Research Oncology, Bermondsey Wing, Guy's Hospital, London, SE1 9RT, UK.



It has been reported that there is an increased risk of cancer in individuals with elevated levels of serum gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT).


In the Guernsey Breast Cancer Cohort Study, GGT was measured in sera from 1803 normal women. Among these women, 251 subsequently developed cancer, of whom 96 developed breast cancer.


After adjustment for age at entry, height, weight, age at menarche and first birth with nulliparity, there was a highly significant relationship between elevated GGT and breast cancer risk. In the highest quartile, the hazard ratio (HR) was 2.17 (95% confidence interval (CI): 1.19, 3.93). When subdivided by menopausal status, there was a reduced non-significant effect in postmenopausal women, whereas for premenopausal women in the highest quartile, HR was 3.81 (95% CI: 1.37, 10.59). Premenopausal women with serum GGT levels above the normal range had a significantly elevated HR of 4.90 (95% CI: 1.86, 12.94).


These results suggest that premenopausal women with high normal (above median) serum GGT or elevated levels (< or =40 IU l(-1)) are at increased risk of breast cancer and might benefit from close surveillance, possibly with breast magnetic resonance imaging scans. Serum GGT may mark previous exposure to carcinogens and lead to the identification of DNA adducts involved in mammary carcinogenesis.

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