Variants in estrogen biosynthesis genes, sex steroid hormone levels, and endometrial cancer: A HuGE review

Sara H. Olson, Elisa V. Bandera, Irene Orlow

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

90 Scopus citations


Variants in genes involved in estrogen biosynthesis are likely to be important in the etiology of endometrial cancer. This review summarizes data on variants in seven genes in the estrogen biosynthesis pathway and their relation to circulating levels of sex steroid hormones in women and to risk of endometrial cancer. Little or no association was found between genotypes of the cytochrome P-450 genes CYP11A1 (-528[TTTTA]n) or CYP17A1 (-34T/C) or the 17β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase 1 gene HSD17B1 (Ser312Gly) and levels of progesterone, androgens, or estrogens. The position -34T/C variant in CYP17A1 appears to be associated with reduced risk of endometrial cancer, with those homozygous for the variant allele having about half the risk of those homozygous for the wild type. Linked variants in CYP19A1 (intron 4 [TTTA]n, intron 4 [TCT] insertion/deletion, exon 10 C/T) are related to some hormone levels and, based on two studies, to risk of endometrial cancer. For other genes (HSD3B1, HSD3B2, HSD17B2), no information is available on these associations. Results indicate the need to study other variants and haplotypes in these genes, particularly CYP17A1 and CYP19A1, as well as variants in other genes involved in hormone biosynthesis and metabolism pathways. Larger studies or combined studies that allow for investigation of gene-gene and gene-environment interactions are warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)235-245
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican journal of epidemiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Epidemiology


  • Androgens
  • CYP11A1
  • CYP17A1
  • CYP19A1
  • Endometrial neoplasms
  • Epidemiology
  • HSD17B
  • HSD3B

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