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Testosterone levels in relation to oral contraceptive use and the androgen receptor CAG and GGC length polymorphisms in healthy young women

  • M Hietala
  • Therese Törngren
  • Åke Borg
  • Håkan Olsson
  • Helena Jernström
Publishing year: 2007
Language: English
Pages: 83-91
Publication/Series: Human Reproduction
Volume: 22
Issue: 1
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: Oxford University Press

Abstract english

BACKGROUND: The combined effect from the androgen receptor (AR) CAG and GGC length polymorphisms on testosterone levels has not been studied in young women. METHODS: Testosterone levels were measured in blood drawn on both menstrual cycle days 5-10 and 18-23 in 258 healthy women, aged <= 40 years, from high-risk breast cancer families. CAG and GGC length polymorphisms were analysed by PCR and fragment analyses. All women completed a questionnaire including information on oral contraceptive (OC) use and reproductive factors. RESULTS: OC users had lower median testosterone levels than non-users during cycle days 5-10 and 18-23 (P <= 0.005 for both). The BRCA mutation status was associated neither with testosterone levels nor with CAG or GGC length polymorphism. The CAG length polymorphism was not associated with testosterone levels. The cumulative number of long GGC alleles (>= 17 repeats) was significantly associated with lower testosterone levels in OC users during cycle days 5-10 (P-trend =0.014), but not during cycle days 18-23 or in non-users. The interaction between the GGC length polymorphism and OC status was highly significant during cycle days 5-10 (P = 0.002) and near-significant during days 18-23 (P = 0.07). Incident breast cancer was more common in women with two short GGC alleles (log-rank P = 0.003). CONCLUSION: The GGC repeat length was the only significant genetic factor modifying the testosterone levels in current OC users from high-risk families. Homozygosity for the short GGC allele may be linked to the increased risk of early-onset breast cancer after OC exposure in high-risk women.


  • Cancer and Oncology
  • breast cancer
  • oral contraceptives
  • androgen receptor polymorphism
  • premenopausal women
  • testosterone levels


  • ISSN: 0268-1161
Åke Borg
Åke Borg
E-mail: ake [dot] borg [at] med [dot] lu [dot] se

Principal investigator

Oncology and Pathology, MV

+46 46 275 25 52

MV 404 C21B2


Project manager

Familial Breast Cancer



Oncology and Pathology, MV

MV 404 C21C2