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November 1978

Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone and Prolactin Levels in Breast Cancer

Author Affiliations

From the Section of Endocrinology and Medical Breast Service, Department of Medicine, The University of Texas System Cancer Center, M. D. Anderson Hospital and Tumor Institute, Houston.

Arch Intern Med. 1978;138(11):1638-1641. doi:10.1001/archinte.1978.03630360028015

Serum thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) and prolactin (PRL) levels were measured before and after intravenous administration of protirelin to 148 patients with breast carcinoma. There was a high prevalence (36%) of elevated basal TSH; however, most of the patients were euthyroid and had normal serum thyroxine and T3 resin uptake. The PRL level was elevated in 22% of the cases. Both the mean PRL and the mean TSH levels for the breast cancer patients were significantly elevated above the respective means in a control group.

We could find no correlation between serum TSH and PRL levels, suggesting that the purported association between a decreased thyroid state and breast cancer is probably not mediated through an increased PRL level. The mean survival and mean disease-free interval were shorter for patients with either elevated TSH or elevated PRL levels, but in neither case was the difference statistically significant.

(Arch Intern Med 138:1638-1641, 1978)