Serum testosterone levels and breast cancer recurrence

Franco Berrino, Patrizia Pasanisi, Cristina Bellati, Elisabetta Venturelli, Vittorio Krogh, Antonio Mastroianni, Edoardo Berselli, Paola Muti, Giorgio Secreto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Prospective studies show that high serum levels of androgens and estrogens are associated with increased incidence of postmenopausal breast cancer. The aim of the present analysis was to study the prognostic value of serum testosterone, estradiol and related factors in postmenopausal breast cancer patients. One hundred and ten patients without clinical recurrence were included in the study. After 5.5 years of follow-up, 31 patients developed distant metastasis (16), local relapse (4), or contralateral breast cancer (11). The risk of adverse events in relation to hormone level was examined by Cox' proportional hazard modeling, adjusting for hormone receptor status and stage at diagnosis. Body mass index and serum levels of testosterone, estradiol and glucose were significantly higher in patients who recurred than those who did not. The hazard ratios were 1.8 (95% CI = 0.5-6.3) for the middle and 7.2 (95% CI = 2.4-21.4) for the upper tertiles of baseline testosterone distribution. Other hormones had only minor influence on prognosis. High testosterone predicts breast cancer recurrence. Further studies are required to determine whether dietary or other medical intervention to reduce testosterone can reduce the recurrence of breast cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)499-502
Number of pages4
JournalInternational Journal of Cancer
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jan 20 2005


  • Breast cancer
  • Recurrences
  • Testosterone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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