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Association between prolactin and mammographic breast density

Leiras, Claudia Costa (2009) Association between prolactin and mammographic breast density. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Breast density affects mammographic sensitivity and is predictive of breast cancer risk. Factors that increase breast density may compromise the reduction in mortality gained by mammographic screening. Understanding these factors is crucial as it may help us improve mammographic screening and reduce breast cancer risk. Prolactin, an endogenous hormone that acts as a mitogen and differentiating agent in the breast, may be one such factor. To our knowledge, this is the first study to examine the association between prolactin and mammographic breast density in a cross-sectional study of healthy, cancer-free postmenopausal women.A weak, but statistically significant correlation was observed between prolactin and percent breast density (spearman correlation coefficient of 0.1197; p-value 0.013) after adjusting for every being pregnant and ever breast feeding. Prolactin is most likely one of several factors that contribute to increased mammographic breast density, and further analyses are needed to determine its' full contribution. No statistically significant associations were observed for the prolactin gene single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) examined in relation to prolactin, percent breast density, or proportion of dense breast area. However, two SNPs in the prolactin receptor gene (rs7734558 and rs7705216) were significantly associated with serum prolactin level at the 0.10 significance level. Women with the G allele (AG and GG) at SNP rs7734558 have a slightly elevated level of prolactin when compared with women homozygous for the A allele (AG 10.76 ± 6.40 ng/mL, GG 10.77 ± 4.60 ng/mL vs. AA 9.86 ± 6.32 ng/mL); and those with the GG allele at SNP rs7705216 have a slightly elevated prolactin level when compared with individuals with the C allele (GG 11.71 ± 2.78 ng/mL vs. CG 11.15 ± 6.22 ng/mL, CC 10.27 ± 5.99 ng/mL). These SNPs need to be further investigated to determine their full contribution in relation to serum prolactin levels.Having an understanding of factors that affect breast density is an important public health issue has it may lead to improvements in breast cancer screening and help identify not only women at an increased risk for breast cancer, but women who may benefit from prevention strategies.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Leiras, Claudia
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairCauley, Jane Ajcauley@edc.pitt.eduJCAULEY
Committee MemberZeleznik, Anthony Jzeleznik@pitt.eduZELEZNIK
Committee MemberWeissfeld, Joel Ljwepid@pitt.eduJWEPID
Committee MemberWilson, John Wjww@pitt.eduJWW
Committee MemberBarmada, M Michaelbarmada@pitt.eduBARMADA
Date: 29 June 2009
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 7 April 2009
Approval Date: 29 June 2009
Submission Date: 8 April 2009
Access Restriction: 5 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 5 years.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Epidemiology
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: prolactin; prolactin receptor; genetic variability; mammographic breast density
Other ID:, etd-04082009-171000
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:35
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:39


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