Among women, the A2 allele of CYP17 has been associated with elevated levels of endogenous steroid hormones; however, it does not seem to be a strong independent risk factor for breast cancer. We assessed the association between the A2 allele of CYP17 and invasive endometrial cancer risk in a case-control study nested within the Nurses' Health Study cohort (cases: n = 184; controls: n = 554). We also evaluated whether endometrial cancer risk associated with CYP17 genotype was modified by established endometrial cancer risk factors. In addition, we further examined the relationship between CYP17 genotype and endogenous plasma steroid hormone levels among postmenopausal controls not using hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Women with the A2 allele of CYP17 were at decreased risk of endometrial cancer (A1/A1 genotype (reference); A1/A2 genotype: odds ratio, 0.89; 95% confidence interval, 0.62-1.27; A2/A2 genotype: odds ratio, 0.43; 95% confidence interval, 0.23-0.80; P trend, 0.02). We also observed the inverse association between the A2 allele and endometrial cancer risk to be stronger among women with a first-degree family history of endometrial and/or colorectal cancer (P for interaction, 0.05). Among 165 controls, we did not observe women with the A2 allele to have significantly elevated levels of any steroid hormone fraction. When these women were combined and analyzed with those women on whom we had previously examined the relationship between CYP17 genotype and circulating hormone levels (total n = 469), only modest associations were observed for the A2/A2 genotype and steroid hormone fractions estrone (versus A1/A1 genotype: +10.9%; P = 0.05) and estradiol (+8.5%; P = 0.17). These data suggest that the A2 allele of CYP17 decreases endometrial cancer risk, but has only weak effects on endogenous estrogen levels among postmenopausal women.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3955-3960
Number of pages6
JournalCancer research
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 15 2001


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