Breast cancer risk factors in two distinct ethnic groups: Indian and Pakistani vs. American premenopausal women

Savitri K. Kamath*, Genoveva Murillo, Robert T. Chatterton, Erum A. Hussain, Daxa Amin, Erica Mortillaro, Charles T. Peterson, D. Lee Alekel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Asian Indians from the Indian subcontinent have low rates of breast cancer, but studies on breast cancer risk factors in Indian and Pakistani women living in the United States are lacking. This study contrasted breast cancer risk factors [serum total 17β-estradiol (E2), sex hormone-binding globulin-bound E2, available E2, estrone (E1), and dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate, reproductive history, family history of cancer, body composition/size, dietary intake, physical activity, and excretion of isoflavones] between two distinct ethnic groups of premenopausal women residing in the United States. We also determined the contribution of these and other factors to the variability of each sex hormone. Distributions of values for serum total E2, available E2, and sex hormone-binding globulin- bound E2 (%) were greater (p < 0.005) in American (n = 47) than in Indian and Pakistani (n = 47) women. Multiple regression analysis indicated that 26% of the variability (p ≤ 0.0001) in serum E2 was accounted for by the ratio of total cholesterol to high-density-lipoprotein cholesterol, length of time in the United States, and saturated fat intake, whereas less (17%) variability was accounted for by available E2 (representing free E2 + albumin-bound E2), contributed by the ratio of total cholesterol to high- density-lipoprotein cholesterol and saturated fat intake. Five variables accounted for 31% of the variability (p ≤ 0.0001) in E1. The major finding of this study was that circulating sex hormone concentrations were determined more by environmental factors than by ethnicity, which was not a significant contributor to any of the serum hormones.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)16-26
Number of pages11
JournalNutrition and Cancer
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Oncology
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Cancer Research


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