The production rate of cortisol based on both the plasma clearance of the hormone (plasma production rate) and the urinary metabolite method (urinary production rate) was simultaneously measured in early or advanced breast cancer patients and in controls. Higher production of the hormone was observed by both these methods in patients with advanced breast cancer.
There was a significant correlation between the plasma production rate of cortisol and its urinary production based on the specific activities of three urinary metabolites, namely, cortisol, tetrahydrocortisol (THF) and tetrahydrocortisone (THE). However, the values obtained for the urinary production rate differed considerably in about one-third of the patients due to differences in the specific activities of THE and THF. It is postulated that, in some cases, there may be a second precursor of urinary THE and THF which contributes significant amounts to the excretion of these metabolites.
No correlation was found between the cortisol production rate and urinary total 17-hydroxycorticosteroids (17-OHCS).