Object. The goal of this study was to investigate the risk of meningioma in relation to exogenous and endogenous sex hormones. Methods. The study participants were female registered nurses from 11 US states who were between 30 and 55 years of age when they enrolled in the Nurses' Health Study cohort. These women completed biennial questionnaires between 1976 and 1996. All participants were free from cancer and other major medical illness at the onset of the study. The primary endpoint was meningioma as self-reported in biennial and supplemental questionnaires. During 1,213,522 person-years of follow-up review, 125 cases of meningioma were confirmed. After adjusting for age and body mass index (BMI), compared with postmenopausal women who had never used postmenopausal hormones, the relative risk (RR) for premenopausal women was 2. 48 (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.29-4.77; p = 0.01) and the RR for postmenopausal women who received hormone therapy was 1.86 (95% CI 1.07-3.24; p = 0.03). The authors found no excess risk associated with past hormone use. In models that additionally controlled for hormone use and menopausal status, the authors found that, compared with women whose menarche occurred before they were 12 years of age, the RR for women whose menarche occurred at ages 12 through 14 years was 1.29 (95% CI 0.86-1.92; p = 0.21) and the RR for women whose menarche occurred after age 14 years was 1.97 (95% CI 1.06-3.66; p = 0.03). The authors also observed a tendency, albeit nonsignificant, for increased risk of meningioma in parous as opposed to nulliparous women (multivariate RR = 2.39, 95% CI 0.76-7.53; p = 0.14). A trend toward an increasing risk of meningioma with increasing BMI was also noted (p for trend = 0.06). No association was found for past or current use of oral contraceptives. Conclusions. The risk for meningiomas was increased among women exposed to either endogenous or exogenous sex hormones. An unexpected relationship with increasing age at menarche was also noted; this remains unexplained.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)848-853
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of neurosurgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2003


  • Brain tumor
  • Estrogen
  • Meningioma
  • Patient cohort
  • Progesterone
  • Prospective study
  • Sex steroid


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