Research papers: Molecular BiologyLevels and correlates of alpha-fetoprotein in normal pregnancies among Caucasian and Chinese womenLagiou, Pagonaa c; Samoli, Evangeliaa; Lagiou, Aretia b; Lambe, Matse; Trichopoulos, Dimitriosc e; Adami, Hans-Olovc e; Hsieh, Chung-Chengc e dAuthor Information aDepartment of Hygiene and Epidemiology, School of Medicine, University of Athens, Athens bFaculty of Health Professions, Athens Technological Institute (TEI), Akadimia Platonos, Greece cDepartment of Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston dUniversity of Massachusetts Cancer Centre, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA eDepartment of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden Correspondence to Dr Pagona Lagiou, Department of Hygiene and Epidemiology, University of Athens Medical School, 75, M. Asias Street, Goudi, GR-115 27 Athens, Greece Tel: +30 210 746 2012; fax: +30 210 746 2080; e-mail: email@example.com Sponsorship: The original study was supported in part by grant no. CA54220 from the National Institutes of Health. Received 23 January 2006 Accepted 27 February 2006 European Journal of Cancer Prevention: June 2007 - Volume 16 - Issue 3 - p 178-183 doi: 10.1097/01.cej.0000228414.00634.53 Buy Metrics Abstract Alpha-fetoprotein has been suggested to have anti breast cancer properties both in adult life and in utero. We studied correlates of maternal serum α-fetoprotein levels in normal singleton pregnancies. This was a prospective study relying on women attending maternal units in major teaching hospitals in Boston, USA and Shanghai, China. Specifically, 212 Caucasian women in Boston, and 196 Asian women in Shanghai provided blood samples at the 16th and 27th gestational week. Maternal serum α-fetoprotein levels were measured and correlated with maternal and newborn parameters through multiple regression procedures, controlling for a set of potential confounders, including maternal levels of measured hormones. Alpha-fetoprotein was strongly inversely associated with maternal prepregnancy body mass index (−4.73 ng/l at the 27th week per 1 kg/m2 of body mass index, with 95% confidence intervals −7.09 to −2.36), whereas it was not related to parity, gender of offspring or birth weight. Duration of gestation was inversely associated with maternal α-fetoprotein levels, particularly among Caucasian women (−0.22 weeks per 60 ng/l of α-fetoprotein at the 27th week, with 95% confidence intervals −0.39 to −0.05). In normal pregnancies, maternal α-fetoprotein is inversely related to prepregnancy body mass index and appears to have a physiologic role on duration of gestation rather than on birth weight. © 2007 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.