Background: Cigarette smoking (smoking), hormone therapy (MHT), and folate intake (folate) are each thought to influence colorectal cancer risk, but the underlying molecular mechanisms remain incompletely defined. Expression of estrogen receptor β (ESR2) has been associated with colorectal cancer stage and survival. Methods: In this prospective cohort study, we examined smoking, MHT, and folate-associated colorectal cancer risks by ESR2 protein expression level among participants in the Iowa Women's Health Study (IWHS). Self-reported exposure variables were assessed at baseline. Archived, paraffin-embedded colorectal cancer tissue specimens were collected and evaluated for ESR2 protein expression by IHC. Multivariate Cox regression models were fit to estimate relative risks (RR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for associations between smoking, MHT, or folate and ESR2-defined colorectal cancer subtypes. Results: Informative environmental exposure and protein expression data were available for 491 incident colorectal cancer cases. Positive associations between ESR2-low and-high tumors and several smoking-related variables were noted, most prominently with average number of cigarettes per day (RR, 4.24; 95% CI, 1.81-9.91 for ESR2-low and RR, 2.15; 95% CI, 1.05-4.41 for ESR2-high for ≥40 cigarettes compared with nonsmokers). For MHT, a statistically significant association with ESR2-low tumors was observed with longer duration of exposure (RR, 0.54; 95% CI, 0.26-1.13 for >5 years compared with never use). No associations were found for folate. Conclusions: In this study, smoking and MHT were associated with ESR2 expression patterns. Impact: These data support possible heterogeneous effects from smoking and MHT on ERb-related pathways of colorectal carcinogenesis in older women. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev; 24(4); 713-9.
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