Background: We investigated whether the free β-human chorionic gonadotropin (free β-hCG) would provide additional information to that provided by total hCG alone and thus be useful in future epidemiological studies relating hCG to maternal breast cancer risk. Materials & methods: Cases (n = 159) and controls (n = 286) were a subset of our previous study within the Northern Sweden Maternity Cohort on total hCG during primiparous pregnancy and breast cancer risk. Results: The associations between total hCG (hazard ratio: 0.79; 95% CI: 0.49-1.27), free β-hCG (hazard ratio: 0.85; 95% CI: 0.33-2.18) and maternal risk of breast cancer were very similar in all analyses and mutual adjustment for either one had minor effects on the risk estimates. Conclusion: In the absence of a reliable assay on intact hCG, total hCG alone can be used in epidemiological studies investigating hCG and breast cancer risk, as free β-hCG does not appear to provide any additional information.
- Breast cancer
- Free β-human chorionic gonadotropin
- Human chorionic gonadotropin
- Nested case-control study