Background: Nipple aspiration fluid (NAF) use as a biosample is limited by the variable yield across studies. We investigated the endocrine determinants of yield in an ongoing breast cancer case-control study. Methods: One-hundred and eighteen women yielding ≥2 μL NAF and 120 non-yielders were included; serum hormones were measured; differences in median hormones were assessed using the Wilcoxon rank-sum test. ORs and 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) for yielder status relative to hormone levels were estimated using logistic regression, adjusting for parity and lactation, and, in premenopausal women, menstrual cycle phase (MCP). Results: Prolactin concentrations were higher in yielders than non-yielders (premenopausal: 7.6 and 2.5 ng/mL, P < 0.01; postmenopausal 5.3 and 2.2 ng/mL; P < 0.01). Among premenopausal-yielders, estradiol was lower (64.3 vs. 90.5 pg/mL, MCP-adjusted P = 0.02). In separate menopausal status and parity-adjusted models, significant case-control differences persisted in prolactin: case OR 1.93 (95% CI, 1.35-2.77), control OR 1.64 (95% CI, 1.17-2.29). Premenopausal control yielders had higher progesterone (OR, 1.70; 95% CI, 1.18-2.46) and sex-hormone binding-globulin (OR, 2.09; 95% CI, 1.08-4.05) than non-yielders. Among parous women, further adjustment for lactation suggested a stronger positive association of serum prolactin with yield in cases than controls. Conclusion: NAF-yielders show higher prolactin than non-yielders, regardless of menopause and parity; implications of this and other endocrine differences on NAF biomarkers of breast cancer risk deserve further study. Impact: NAF yield is associated with a distinct endocrine environment that must be considered in studies of NAF-based breast cancer risk markers.
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