Exogenous estrogen and the risk of biliary tract cancer - a population-based study in a cohort of Swedish men treated for prostate cancer.

To assess the role of exogenous estrogen in the etiology of biliary tract cancer, a nationwide population-based cohort study in Sweden was performed.

The study included all men in Sweden with prostate cancer diagnosed in 1961-2008. Due to treatment standards, patients diagnosed in 1961-1980 were considered more exposed to estrogen, while those diagnosed in 1981-2008 were regarded less exposed. Standardized incidence ratios (SIRs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated to estimate the risk of biliary tract cancer in cohort members compared to the corresponding Swedish male population.

After 849 307 person-years of follow-up in 203 131 prostate cancer patients, there were 41 incident gallbladder cancers and 36 cancers of the extra-hepatic bile ducts. In overall, there were no apparent differences in the risk of gallbladder cancer or bile duct cancer between patients diagnosed in 1961-1980 and patients diagnosed in 1981-2008. However, in patients diagnosed in 1961-1980, there was a statistically non-significant increased risk of gallbladder cancer (SIR 1.34; 95% CI 0.71-2.29) and extra-hepatic bile duct cancer (SIR 1.20; 95% CI 0.55-2.28) > 5 years of follow-up after the prostate cancer diagnosis. No such association was found for patients diagnosed in 1981-2008. Sensitivity analyses excluding prostate cancer patients exposed to potential confounding factors did not change the SIRs.

Long exposure to high doses of exogenous estrogen might increase the risk of biliary tract cancer. However, any potential excess risk of bile duct cancer resulted by prolonged exposure to high doses of exogenous estrogen seems to be small.

Acta oncologica (Stockholm, Sweden). 2016 May 13 [Epub ahead of print]

Carl Kilander, Fredrik Mattsson, Yunxia Lu, Rickard Ljung, Jesper Lagergren, Omid Sadr-Azodi

a Department of Molecular Medicine and Surgery , Karolinska Institutet , Stockholm , Sweden ;, a Department of Molecular Medicine and Surgery , Karolinska Institutet , Stockholm , Sweden ;, a Department of Molecular Medicine and Surgery , Karolinska Institutet , Stockholm , Sweden ;, b Unit of Epidemiology, Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet , Stockholm , Sweden ;, a Department of Molecular Medicine and Surgery , Karolinska Institutet , Stockholm , Sweden ;, b Unit of Epidemiology, Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet , Stockholm , Sweden ;