Hormonal determinants of nipple aspirate fluid yield among breast cancer cases and screening controls

Angela J. Fought, Claire McGathey, Denise M. Scholtens, Richard E. Heinz, Rick Lowe, Yvonne B. Feeney, Oukseub Lee, Thomas E. Kmiecik, Judith A. Wolfman, Charles V. Clevenger, Peter H. Gann, Susan Gapstur, Robert T. Chatterton, Seema A. Khan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2277-2284
Number of pages8
JournalCancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Oncology

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