Association of circulating free and total oxysterols in breast cancer patients

  • Nina Sophia Decker
  • Theron Johnson
  • Sabine Behrens
  • Nadia Obi
  • Rudolf Kaaks
  • Jenny Chang-Claude
  • Renée Turzanski Fortner


Objectives: Oxysterols, a family of oxidized cholesterol derivates, are of increasing interest due to their role in cancer development and progression. Some oxysterols are estrogen receptor modulators and thus of particular interest in breast cancer research. In human studies, two forms of circulating oxysterols are commonly evaluated: "free" (unesterified) and "total" (esterified and unesterified). However, associations between free and total oxysterols are not well established. We addressed this knowledge gap in a pilot study by evaluating correlations between the free and the total form of each of the circulating oxysterols (free vs. total), and pairwise associations within the panel of total oxysterols (total vs. total) and the panel of free oxysterols (free vs. free).

Methods: Concentrations of oxysterols and other non-cholesterol sterols were quantified in blood samples of 27 breast cancer patients from the MARIE breast cancer patient cohort using liquid chromatography mass spectrometry. We used Spearman rank correlations to assess associations. Overall, 12 oxysterols (including 27-hydroxycholesterol (HC), 25-HC, 24S-HC, 7a-HC, 5a6a-epoxycholesterol) and five sterols (including lanosterol and desmosterol) were analyzed.

Results: Strong correlations (r≥0.82) were observed for seven circulating free and total oxysterols/sterols. The free and total form of 27-HC (r=0.63), 25-HC (r=0.54), and two more oxysterols were weaker correlated. Correlation patterns in the panel of total oxysterols/sterols and the panel of free oxysterols/sterols were similar.

Conclusions: These findings demonstrate that concentrations of most free and total oxysterols/sterols are strongly correlated. We provide further insight into the interrelationships between oxysterols in breast cancer patients.

Bibliografische Daten

StatusVeröffentlicht - 27.01.2023

Anmerkungen des Dekanats

© 2022 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston.

PubMed 36342239