Greater exposure to estrogens is a risk factor for ovarian cancer. To investigate the role of estrogens in ovarian cancer, a spot urine sample and a saliva sample were obtained from 33 women with ovarian cancer and 34 age-matched controls. Thirty-eight estrogen metabolites, conjugates and DNA adducts were analyzed in the urine samples using ultraperformance liquid chromatography/ tandem mass spectrometry, and the ratio of adducts to metabolites and conjugates was calculated for each sample. The ratio of depurinating estrogen-DNA adducts to estrogen metabolites and conjugates was significantly higher in cases compared to controls (p < 0.0001), demonstrating high specificity and sensitivity. DNA was purified from the saliva samples and analyzed for genetic polymorphisms in the genes for two estrogen-metabolizing enzymes. Women with two low-activity alleles of catechol-O-methyltransferase plus one or two high-activity alleles of cytochrome P450 1B1 had higher levels of estrogen-DNA adducts and were more likely to have ovarian cancer. These findings indicate that estrogen metabolism is unbalanced in ovarian cancer and suggest that formation of estrogen-DNA adducts plays a critical role in the initiation of ovarian cancer.
- estrogen-DNA adducts
- ovarian cancer
- unbalanced estrogen metabolism
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research