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Commentary

Deficits in plasma oestradiol measurement in studies and management of breast cancer

Mitch Dowsett* and Elizabeth Folkerd

Author Affiliations

Academic Department of Biochemistry, The Royal Marsden Hospital, London, UK

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Breast Cancer Res 2005, 7:1-4  doi:10.1186/bcr960

Published: 28 October 2004

Abstract

The determination of plasma oestradiol has numerous applications in epidemiology, reproductive medicine and breast cancer management. Commercially available analytical methods, which measure the hormone levels without prior purification, have been successfully developed for measuring oestradiol in premenopausal women. The application of these methodologies to the quantification of the very low levels of oestradiol in postmenopausal women is more problematic in terms of accuracy and interpretation. The importance of using appropriate methodology is discussed and illustrated with data demonstrating the disparity in the results obtained when low levels of oestradiol were quantified using direct and indirect methods.

Keywords:
immunoassays; oestradiol; postmenopausal