Non-Dioxin-Like Polychlorinated Biphenyls and Risk of Endometriosis

Endometriosis, a gynecologic disorder affecting 8-10 percent of US reproductive age women, is defined as the presence of endometrial tissue outside the uterus and is linked to pelvic pain and infertility. Environmental contaminants, including polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), are hypothesized to contribute to endometriosis risk through effects on steroid hormones.

We evaluated serum concentrations of certain non-coplanar PCBs, which have no- or only weak dioxin-like properties, as risk factors for endometriosis.

In a case-control study of Group Health enrollees in western Washington state twenty PCB congeners were measured in serum from surgically confirmed endometriosis cases newly diagnosed between 1996 and 2001 (n=251), and age and reference year matched female controls (n=538).

Summed and estrogenic PCB concentrations were not associated with endometriosis risk [summed: odds ratio (OR) = 1.3 (95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.8, 2.2); estrogenic: OR = 1.1 (95% CI = 0.8, 1.4)]. Although several congener-specific ORs were statistically above or below the null, [PCB 170: third vs. lowest: OR = 0.5 (95% CI = 0.3, 0.9); PCB 196: third vs. lowest: OR = 0.4 (95% CI = 0.2, 0.7); PCB 201: second vs. lowest: OR = 0.5 (95% CI = 0.3, 0.8), third vs. lowest: OR = 0.4 (95% CI = 0.2, 0.7)] there were no overall consistent patterns of endometriosis risk.

Taken in context with other North American studies, our findings suggest that non-coplanar PCB concentrations consistent within the range of exposure currently observed in western Washington State do not contribute meaningfully to endometriosis risk.

Citation: Trabert B, De Roos AJ, Schwartz SM, Peters U, Scholes D, Barr DB, et al. 2010. Non-Dioxin-Like Polychlorinated Biphenyls and Risk of Endometriosis. Environ Health Perspect :-. doi:10.1289/ehp.0901444

Source: NIH