Exposure to endocrine disruptor alkylphenols and the occurrence of endometrial cancer

Hui Ju Wen, Ting Chang Chang, Wang Hsien Ding, Shih Fen Tsai, Chao A. Hsiung, Shu Li Wang

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Exposure to environmental chemicals with oestrogenic effects has been associated with the development of endometrial cancer (EMCa). EMCa has become the most commonly diagnosed cancer of the female genital tract. To further understand the potential association between exposure to environmental endocrine disruptors and the occurrence of EMCa, we performed a case-control study between 2011 and 2014. We aimed to detect and compare concentrations of a known hormone disruptor, alkylphenol, between women diagnosed with either EMCa or uterine leiomyoma, and those who did not have either of these. Subjects were women diagnosed with either EMCa or uterine leiomyoma (LM) and healthy controls. A structured questionnaire was administered to collect information on lifestyle and health status. Gas chromatography/mass spectrometry was used to measure urinary NP and OP concentrations in participants. Multiple regression analysis was used to examine the association between exposure and outcomes. Overall, 397 women were recruited, including 49 with EMCa, 247 with LM, and 101 controls. Among them, 73.6% showed detectable levels of NP and 61.0% showed detectable levels of OP. The EMCa group had a significantly higher NP concentration than the control group. Higher OP concentrations were also found in participants with EMCa than those with LM and controls. In addition, women in the upper tertile of the NP group had a significantly increased risk of EMCa occurrence (odds ratio [95% confidence interval] = 4.47 [1.69–11.84] for EMCa vs. control). The same was found in the group of women with more than the median level of OP (odds ratio [95% confidence interval] = 4.32 [2.01–9.30] for EMCa vs. LM). Stratification of pre- and post-menopausal groups resulted in a similar association. The results show that NP/OP exposure is associated with EMCa. Further investigations and exposure minimisation are suggested.

Original languageEnglish
Article number115475
JournalEnvironmental Pollution
StatePublished - Dec 2020


  • Alkylphenol
  • Endocrine disruptor
  • Endometrial cancer
  • Environmental epidemiology
  • Uterine leiomyoma


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