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Approved Research

Risk and prognosis of estrogen-related diseases

Principal Investigator: Dr Wei He
Approved Research ID: 69972
Approval date: February 16th 2021

Lay summary

The concentration of estrogen should be within a physiological range. Failing below this range may result in osteoporosis, insulin resistance, sarcopenia, cardiovascular diseases, colorectal cancer, and mental and neurological diseases; while exceeding this range may result in breast cancer, ovarian cancer and endometrial cancer. These estrogen-related diseases appear to affect the same individual substantially more than chance alone, thus should be considered simultaneously within one study.

In addition to the origin, the prognosis of the estrogen-related diseases is even more complicated due to the additional involvement of disease treatment. Treatment for one estrogen-related disease my increase the risk of having another estrogen-related disease. For example, anti-estrogen therapy (such as aromatase inhibitors) in breast cancer dcrease the risk of breast cancer mortality, but at the cost of increasing the risk of osteoporosis and cardiovascular diseases. More studies are needed to better balance estrogen-related treatment and treatment-related side effects/adverse events.

This study aims to investigate the origin and prognosis of estrogen-related diseases by using UK biobank's comprehensively collected genotype, phenotype, imaging, lifestyle, diagnosis and treatment information. Successful completion of this study will help to better understand the development and progression of estrogen-related diseases, and will provide bases for target interventions to lower the disease burden. The proposed project will last for three years but it might be prolonged due to advances in methodology and prolonged follow-up of disease outcome.

Added new scope:

Our revised study scope proposes to include early life exposure (e.g., breastfed as a baby,  Maternal smoking around birth, Comparative body size (height) at age 10, Part of a multiple births, adopted as a child) and its potential long-term health outcomes, underpinning the hypothesis that many estrogen-related diseases take root early in life. We also aim to expand our research into the risk and prognosis of diseases more broadly, inspired by our observations in studying estrogen-related diseases. Specifically, we intend to delve into how socioeconomic factors (e.g., Townsend deprivation index at recruitment ) and lifestyles and other biomarkers modulate the risk and prognosis of diseases in general, and how estrogen-related diseases differentiate from non-estrogen-related diseases.