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Hum Reprod. 2014 Nov;29(11):2457-64. doi: 10.1093/humrep/deu227. Epub 2014 Sep 9.

A population-based case-control study of urinary bisphenol A concentrations and risk of endometriosis.

Author information

1
Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA Division of Public Health Sciences, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA, USA Epidemiology Branch, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institutes of Health, 111 TW Alexander Drive, Rall Building 101, MD A3-05 NIEHS, Research Triangle Park, NC, USA kristen.upson@nih.gov.
2
Department of Pediatrics, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA Seattle Children's Research Institute, Seattle, WA, USA.
3
Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, School of Public Health, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA, USA.
4
Institute for Prevention and Occupational Medicine of the German Social Accident Insurance, Institute of the Ruhr-University Bochum (IPA), Bochum, Germany.
5
Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA Group Health Research Institute, Seattle, WA, USA.
6
Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA Division of Public Health Sciences, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA, USA.

Abstract

STUDY QUESTION:

Is bisphenol A (BPA) exposure associated with the risk of endometriosis, an estrogen-driven disease of women of reproductive age?

SUMMARY ANSWER:

Our study suggests that increased urinary BPA is associated with an increased risk of non-ovarian pelvic endometriosis, but not ovarian endometriosis.

WHAT IS KNOWN ALREADY:

BPA, a high-volume chemical used in the polymer industry, has been the focus of public and scientific concern given its demonstrated estrogenic effects in vivo and in vitro and widespread human exposure. Prior studies of BPA and endometriosis have yielded inconsistent results and were limited by the participant sampling framework, small sample size or use of serum (which has very low/transient concentrations) instead of urine to measure BPA concentrations.

STUDY DESIGN, SIZE, DURATION:

We used data from the Women's Risk of Endometriosis study, a population-based case-control study of endometriosis, conducted among female enrollees of a large healthcare system in the US Pacific Northwest. Cases were women with incident, surgically confirmed endometriosis diagnosed between 1996 and 2001 and controls were women randomly selected from the defined population that gave rise to the cases, without a current or prior diagnosis of endometriosis.

PARTICIPANTS/MATERIALS, SETTINGS, METHODS:

Total urinary BPA concentrations were measured in 143 cases and 287 population-based controls using single, spot urine samples collected after disease diagnosis in cases. Total urinary BPA concentration (free and conjugated species) was quantified using a high-performance liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry method. We estimated odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) using unconditional logistic regression, adjusting for urinary creatinine concentrations, age and reference year. We also evaluated the association by disease subtypes, ovarian and non-ovarian pelvic endometriosis, that may be etiologically distinct.

MAIN RESULTS AND THE ROLE OF CHANCE:

We did not observe a statistically significant association between total urinary BPA concentrations and endometriosis overall. We did observe statistically significant positive associations when evaluating total urinary BPA concentrations in relation to non-ovarian pelvic endometriosis (second versus lowest quartile: OR 3.0; 95% CI: 1.2, 7.3; third versus lowest quartile: OR 3.0; 95% CI: 1.1, 7.6), but not in relation to ovarian endometriosis.

LIMITATIONS, REASONS FOR CAUTION:

Given the short elimination half-life of BPA, our study was limited by the timing of collection of the single urine sample, that occurred after case diagnosis. Thus, our BPA measurements may not accurately represent the participants' levels during the etiologically relevant time period for endometriosis development. In addition, since it was not feasible in this population-based study to surgically confirm the absence of disease, it is possible that some controls may have had undiagnosed endometriosis.

WIDER IMPLICATIONS OF THE FINDINGS:

By using population-based data, it is more likely that the controls represented the underlying frequency of BPA exposure in contrast to prior studies that used for comparison control women undergoing surgical evaluation, where the indication for surgery may be associated with BPA exposure. The significant associations observed in this study suggest that BPA may affect the normal dynamic structural changes of hormonally responsive endometrial tissue during the menstrual cycle, promoting the establishment and persistence of refluxed endometrial tissue in cases with non-ovarian pelvic endometriosis. Further research is warranted to confirm our novel findings in endometriosis subtypes that may be etiologically distinct.

STUDY FUNDING/COMPETING INTERESTS:

This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (grant number R03 ES019976), the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (grant number R01 HD033792); US Environmental Protection Agency, Science to Achieve Results (STAR) (grant number R82943-01-0) and National Institute of Nursing Research (grant number F31NR013092) to KU for training support. This work was supported in part by the Intramural Research Program of the National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official view of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institute of Nursing Research or the National Institutes of Health. The authors have no actual or potential competing financial interests.

TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER:

Not applicable.

KEYWORDS:

Bisphenol A; endometriosis; environmental health; epidemiology; population-based case–control study

PMID:
25205760
PMCID:
PMC4191453
DOI:
10.1093/humrep/deu227
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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