Environmental PCB exposure and risk of endometriosis

G. M. Buck Louis, J. M. Weiner, B. W. Whitcomb, R. Sperrazza, E. F. Schisterman, D. T. Lobdell, K. Crickard, H. Greizerstein, P. J. Kostyniak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

111 Scopus citations


Background: Hormonally active environmental agents have recently been associated with the development of endometriosis. Methods: We undertook a study to assess the relationship between endometriosis, an estrogen-dependent gynaecological disease, and 62 individual polychlorinated biphenyl (PCBs) congeners. We enrolled 84 eligible women aged 18-40 years undergoing laparoscopy for study, which included an interview and blood specimen (n = 79; 94%). Thirty-two women had visually confirmed endometriosis at laparoscopy while 52 did not. Blood specimens were run in batches of 14 including four quality control samples for toxicological analysis. Each PCB congener was adjusted for recovery; batch-specific reagent blanks were subtracted. All PCB concentrations were log transformed and expressed in ng/g serum first as a sum and then as tertiles by purported estrogenic or anti-estrogenic activity of PCB congeners. Results: Using unconditional logistic regression analysis, a significantly elevated odds ratio (OR) was observed for women in the third tertile of anti-estrogenic PCBs [OR 3.77; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.12-12.68]. Risk remained elevated after controlling for gravidity, current cigarette smoking and serum lipids (OR 3.30; 95% CI 0.87-12.46). Conclusions: These data suggest that antiestrogenic PCBs may be associated with the development of endometriosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)279-285
Number of pages7
JournalHuman Reproduction
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Endocrine disruptors
  • Endometriosis
  • Environment
  • Fecundity
  • Polychlorinated biphenyls

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Reproductive Medicine


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