Both prolactin (PRL) and melatonin (MLT) (the most important pineal hormone) have been shown to play a role in regulating breast cancer growth. The present study was carried out to investigate the relationship between PRL and MLT secretions in human breast cancer. Twenty-four women with breast cancer, at clinical stage T1-2 N0-2 M0, were evaluated before and after radical mastectomy. As controls, 14 women who underwent surgery for reasons other than neoplastic disease were included in the study. PRL and MLT serum levels were measured by RIA before and 15 days after surgery. There were no significant differences in mean PRL serum levels between patients and controls; mean MLT serum values were significantly higher in patients than in controls. In no control subject was PRL affected by surgery. In contrast, 13/24 breast cancer women showed high PRL levels after mastectomy; the PRL rise induced by surgery was significantly higher in patients without axillary node involvement. MLT was not affected by mastectomy in 13 patients, whereas it was enhanced in 5 women and decreased in the last 6 cases. No significant correlation was seen between PRL and MLT changes induced by mastectomy. The present study shows that radical mastectomy influences PRL and MLT secretions, however, its clinical significance remains to be established.
Correlation between changes in prolactin and melatonin serum levels after radical mastectomy