Association of Active and Sedentary Behaviors with Postmenopausal Estrogen Metabolism

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PurposePhysical activity may reduce endogenous estrogens, but few studies have assessed effects on estrogen metabolism and none have evaluated sedentary behavior in relation to estrogen metabolism. We assessed relationships between accelerometer-measured physical activity and sedentary behavior and 15 urinary estrogens and estrogen metabolites (EM) among postmenopausal controls from a population-based breast cancer case-control study conducted in Poland (2000–2003).MethodsPostmenopausal women (N = 542) were ages 40 to 72 yr and not currently using hormone therapy. Accelerometers, worn for 7 d, were used to derive measures of average activity (counts per day) and sedentary behavior (<100 counts per minute per day). Estrogen metabolites were measured in 12-h urine samples using liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. Estrogen metabolites were analyzed individually, in metabolic pathways (C-2, -4, or -16), and as ratios relative to parent estrogens. Geometric means of estrogen metabolites by tertiles of accelerometer-measures, adjusted for age and body mass, were computed using linear models.ResultsHigh activity was associated with lower levels of estrone and estradiol (P trend = 0.01), whereas increased sedentary time was positively associated with these parent estrogens (P trend = 0.04). Inverse associations were observed between high activity and 2-methoxyestradiol, 4-methoxyestradiol, 17-epiestriol, and 16-epiestriol (P trend = 0.03). Sedentary time was positively associated with methylated catechols in the 2- and 4-hydroxylation pathways (P trend ≤ 0.04). Women in the highest tertile of activity had increased hydroxylation at the C-2, -4, and -16 sites relative to parent estrogens (P trend ≤ 0.02), whereas increased sedentary time was associated with a lower 16-pathway/parent estrogen ratio (P trend = 0.01).ConclusionsHigher activity was associated with lower urinary estrogens, possibly through increased estrogen hydroxylation and subsequent metabolism, whereas sedentary behavior may reduce metabolism.

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