Prolactin Receptor Expression and Breast Cancer: Relationships with Tumor Characteristics among Pre- and Post-menopausal Women in a Population-Based Case–Control Study from Poland
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Previous studies have found an association between elevated circulating prolactin levels and increased risk of breast cancer. Prolactin stimulates breast cancer cell proliferation, migration, and survival via binding to the cell-surface prolactin receptor. The association of prolactin receptor expression with breast tumorigenesis remains unclear as studies that have focused on this association have had limited sample size and/or information about tumor characteristics. Here, we examined the association of prolactin expression with tumor characteristics among 736 cases, from a large population-based case–control study of breast cancer conducted in Poland (2000–2003), with detailed risk factor and pathology data. Tumors were centrally reviewed and prepared as tissue microarrays for immunohistochemical analysis of prolactin receptor expression. Association of prolactin receptor expression across strata of tumor characteristics was evaluated using χ 2 analysis and logistic regression. Prolactin receptor expression did not vary by menopausal status; therefore, data from pre- and post-menopausal women were combined in the analyses. Approximately 83 % of breast cancers were categorized as strong prolactin receptor staining. Negative/low prolactin receptor expression was independently associated with poorly differentiated (p = 1.2 × 10−08) and larger tumors (p = 0.0005). These associations were independent of estrogen receptor expression. This is the largest study to date in which the association of prolactin receptor expression with tumor characteristics has been evaluated. These data provide new avenues from which to explore the associations of the prolactin/prolactin receptor signaling network with breast tumorigenesis.
KeywordsBreast Cancer Progesterone Receptor Estrogen Receptor Status Breast Cancer Risk Factor Menopausal Hormone Therapy
We thank Pei Chao and Michael Stagner from Information Management Services (Sliver Spring, MD, USA), for their valuable contributions to the data management aspects of the study. We also thank the participants, physicians, pathologists, nurses, and interviewers from participating centers in Poland for their efforts during the field-work. The study was funded by Intramural Research Funds of the National Cancer Institute, Department of Health and Human Services, USA. This research was supported by the Intramural Research Programs of the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics and Center for Cancer Research of the National Cancer Institute. Dr Faupel-Badger’s research was also supported by the Cancer Prevention Fellowship Program, Center for Cancer Training, NCI.
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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