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Cancer Causes Control. 2017 Dec;28(12):1441-1452. doi: 10.1007/s10552-017-0971-2. Epub 2017 Oct 31.

Menstrual cycle characteristics and steroid hormone, prolactin, and growth factor levels in premenopausal women.

Author information

1
Department of Epidemiology, Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA. lfarland@mail.harvard.edu.
2
Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Biology, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, 221 Longwood Ave, Boston, MA, 02115, USA. lfarland@mail.harvard.edu.
3
Department of Epidemiology, Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA.
4
Channing Division of Network Medicine, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.
5
Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, School of Public Health and Health Sciences, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA, USA.
6
Department of Cancer Epidemiology, Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa, FL, USA.
7
Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Biology, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, 221 Longwood Ave, Boston, MA, 02115, USA.
8
Academic Department of Biochemistry, The Royal Marsden Hospital, London, UK.
9
Department of Oncology, McGill University and Lady Davis Research Institute, Montreal, QC, Canada.
10
Division of Adolescent Medicine, Boston Children's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.

Abstract

PURPOSE:

Menstrual cycle characteristics are markers of endocrine milieu. However, associations between age at menarche and adulthood sex steroid hormone levels have been inconsistent, and data on menstrual characteristics and non-sex steroid hormones are sparse.

METHODS:

We assessed the relations of menstrual characteristics with premenopausal plasma sex steroid hormones, sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG), prolactin, and growth factors among 2,745 premenopausal women (age 32-52) from the Nurses' Health Study II. Geometric means and tests for trend were calculated using multivariable general linear models.

RESULTS:

Early age at menarche was associated with higher premenopausal early-follicular free estradiol (percent difference < 12 vs. > 13 years = 11%), early-follicular estrone (7%), luteal estrone (7%), and free testosterone (8%) (all p trend < 0.05). Short menstrual cycle length at age 18-22 was associated with higher early-follicular total (< 26 vs. > 39 days = 18%) and free estradiol (16%), early-follicular estrone (9%), SHBG (7%), lower luteal free estradiol (- 14%), total (- 6%), and free testosterone (- 15%) (all p trend < 0.05). Short adult menstrual length was associated with higher early-follicular total estradiol (< 26 vs. > 31 days = 14%), SHBG (10%), lower luteal estrone (- 8%), progesterone (- 9%), total (- 11%) and free testosterone (- 25%), and androstenedione (- 14%) (all p trend < 0.05). Irregularity of menses at 18-22 was associated with lower early-follicular total (irregular vs. very regular = - 14%) and free estradiol (- 14%), and early-follicular estrone (- 8%) (All p trend < 0.05). Irregularity of adult menstrual cycle was associated with lower luteal total estradiol (irregular vs. very regular = - 8%), SHBG (- 3%), higher total (8%), and free testosterone (11%) (all p trend < 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS:

Early-life and adulthood menstrual characteristics are moderately associated with mid-to-late reproductive year's hormone concentrations. These relations of menstrual characteristics with endogenous hormone levels could partially account for associations between menstrual characteristics and reproductive cancers or other chronic diseases.

KEYWORDS:

Growth factors; Menstrual cycle; Premenopausal; Prolactin; Steroid hormones

PMID:
29086892
PMCID:
PMC5718047
[Available on 2018-12-01]
DOI:
10.1007/s10552-017-0971-2
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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