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MINI REVIEW
Year : 2012  |  Volume : 16  |  Issue : 8  |  Page : 195-198

Prolactin and cancer: Has the orphan finally found a home?


Department of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Care Hospitals, Banjara Hills, Road Number 1, Hyderabad - 500 034, Andhra, Pradesh, India

Correspondence Address:
Bipin Kumar Sethi
Department of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Care Hospitals, Banjara Hills, Road Number 1, Hyderabad - 500 034, Andhra, Pradesh
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/2230-8210.104038

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Prolactin has, for long, been associated with galactorrhea and infertility in women while its role in men is largely unknown. Recently, expression of prolactin in various other tissues like the breast, prostate, decidua, and the brain has been recognized. This has led to evaluation of paracrine and autocrine actions of prolactin at these tissues and a possible role in development of various cancers. Increased expression of PRL receptors has also been implicated in carcinogenesis. Breast cancer has the strongest association with increased prolactin and prolactin receptor levels. Prostate cancer also has reported significant association, while the role of prolactin in colorectal, gynecological, laryngeal, and hepatocellular cancers is more tenuous. Prolactin/prolactin receptor pathway has also been implicated in development of resistance to chemotherapy. Thus, the effects of this pathway in carcinogenesis seem widespread. At the same time, they also offer an exciting new approach to hormonal manipulation of cancers, especially the treatment-resistant cancers.


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