Hormonal risk factors and testicular cancer

Alice Joann Sigurdson, The University of Texas School of Public Health


The cause of testicular cancer is not known and recent hypotheses have suggested an altered hormonal milieu may increase the risk of testis cancer. This study examined modulation of testicular cancer risk by hormonal factors, specifically: environmental xenoestrogens (e.g. organochlorines), prenatal maternal estrogens, testosterone indices (age at puberty, severe adolescent acne, self-reported balding), sedentary lifestyle and dietary consumption of fats and phytoestrogens. A hospital based friend matched case-control study was conducted at the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, between January 1990 and October 1996. Cases had a first primary testis tumor diagnosed between age 18 to 50 years and resided in Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma or Arkansas. Cases and friend controls completed a mail questionnaire and case/control mothers were contacted by phone regarding pregnancy related variables. The study population comprised 187 cases, 148 controls, 147 case mothers and 86 control mothers. Odds ratios were virtually identical whether the match was retained or dissolved, thus the analyses were conducted using unconditional logistic regression. Cryptorchidism was a strong risk factor for testis cancer with an age-adjusted odds ratio (OR) of 7.7 (95% confidence interval (CI): 2.3-26.3). In a final model (adjusted for age, education, and cryptorchidism), history of severe adolescent acne and self-reported balding were both significantly protective, as hypothesized. For acne (yes vs. no) the OR was 0.5 (CI: 0.3-1.0) and for balding (yes vs. no) the OR was 0.6 (CI: 0.3-1.0). Marijuana smoking was a risk factor among heavy, regular users (17 times/week, OR = 2.4; CI: 0.9-6.4) and higher saturated fat intake increased testis cancer risk (saturated fat intake $>$ 15.2 grams/day vs. $<$ 11.8 grams/day, OR = 3.3; CI: 1.5-7.1). Early puberty, xenoestrogen exposure, elevated maternal estrogen levels, sedentary lifestyle and dietary phytoestrogen intake were not associated with risk of testicular cancer. In conclusion, testicular cancer may be associated with endogenous androgen metabolism although environmental estrogen exposure can not be ruled out. Further research is needed to understand the underlying hormonal mechanisms and possible dietary influences.

Subject Area

Public health|Environmental science|Nutrition|Oncology

Recommended Citation

Sigurdson, Alice Joann, "Hormonal risk factors and testicular cancer" (1997). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI9809551.