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Background: Dysregulation of endocrine pathways related to steroid and growth hormones may modify endometrial cancer risk; however, prospective data on testosterone, sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) and insulin-like growth factor (IGF)−1 are limited. To elucidate the role of these hormones in endometrial cancer risk we conducted complementary observational and Mendelian randomization (MR) analyses. Methods: The observational analyses included 159,702 women (80% postmenopausal) enrolled in the UK Biobank. Hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were estimated using Cox proportional hazards models. For MR analyses, genetic variants associated with hormone levels were identified and their association with endometrial cancer (12,906 cases/108,979 controls) was examined using two-sample MR. Results: In the observational analysis, higher circulating concentrations of total (HR per unit inverse normal scale = 1.38, 95% CI = 1.22–1.57) and free testosterone (HR per unit log scale = 2.07, 95% CI = 1.66–2.58) were associated with higher endometrial cancer risk. An inverse association was found for SHBG (HR per unit inverse normal scale = 0.76, 95% CI = 0.67–0.86). Results for testosterone and SHBG were supported by the MR analyses. No association was found between genetically predicted IGF-1 concentration and endometrial cancer risk. Conclusions: Our results support probable causal associations between circulating concentrations of testosterone and SHBG with endometrial cancer risk.

Original publication




Journal article


British Journal of Cancer

Publication Date





1308 - 1317