Experimental evidence indicates that prolactin might play a role in tumorigenesis of several human cancers, but data on cancer risk in hyperprolactinemia patients are sparse. The aim of this study was to investigate cancer risk in hyperprolactinemia patients.
A population-based matched cohort study in Sweden.
The hyperprolactinemia cohort consisted of patients hospitalized for hyperprolactinemia from 1987 to 1995 identified in the National Patient Register (n=585) and a hospital cohort of prolactinoma patients at Karolinska University Hospital (n=384). For each patient, ten matched individuals were identified via the Register of Population. Cancer occurrence was ascertained via the Swedish Cancer Registry. Hazard ratios (HRs) were estimated by Cox proportional hazards regression.
Seventy-three malignant tumors were identified in the hyperprolactinemia patients and 660 tumors in the comparison group (HR 1.31; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.02–1.68), mainly attributed to an increased risk of upper gastrointestinal cancer in both males and females (HR 3.69; 95% CI: 1.70–8.03) and hematopoietic cancer in females (HR 3.51; 95% CI: 1.06–11.6). Twelve breast cancers occurred in the female patients, corresponding to an HR of 1.09 (95% CI: 0.60–1.99). Prostate cancer risk in hyperprolactinemia men was reduced (HR 0.40; 95% CI: 0.16–0.99).
An increased overall cancer risk was found in hyperprolactinemia patients, but no increased risk of breast cancer in women and a reduced risk of prostate cancer in men. These findings warrant further investigations and to be confirmed in larger studies but may indicate the importance of an active treatment strategy and follow-up of hyperprolactinemia patients.