Papers And Originals

Non-Specific Factors that may influence Significance of Urinary Steroid Excretion in Breast Cancer

Br Med J 1973; 4 doi: (Published 29 December 1973) Cite this as: Br Med J 1973;4:767
  1. J. A. Durant,
  2. H. Miller


    The urinary excretion of corticosteroids (17-oxogenic steroids) and adrenal androgens (11-deoxy-17-oxosteroids) was studied in women below the age of 50 in a variety of clinical situations for comparison with a normal group. The conditions studied were: chronic debility from non-malignant disease, weight reduction, admission to hospital and surgery for varicose veins, hepatic non-malignant disease, and non-mammary cancer.

    The objective of the study was to determine whether the changes found in early and advanced breast cancer and used to judge the prognosis of the disease are specific to the disease or are merely incidental to the degree of illness caused by the disease.

    Similar changes to those found in breast cancer—principally a reduction in the excretion of the androgens—were found in the women with severe hepatic disease and in advanced non-mammary cancer. These were also found to follow the effects of severe surgical stress.

    It is concluded that the changes found in breast cancer are a measure of the general systemic disturbance caused by the disease and are not due specifically to it. Nevertheless, the value of their prognostic significance remains unchallenged.