The risk for breast cancer is not evidently increased in women with hyperprolactinemia

The question has been raised whether hyperprolactinemia in humans is associated with an excess risk for breast cancer. We aimed to assess the risk of breast cancer in a previously defined large cohort of patients treated for idiopathic hyperprolactnemia or prolactinomas. Based on the pattern of drug prescriptions we identified 11,314 subjects in the PHARMO network with at least one dispensing of dopamine agonists between 1996 and 2006. Of these, 1,607 subjects were considered to have dopamine agonist-treated hyperprolactinemia based on the prescribing pattern. For the present analysis, we included only women (n = 1,342). Patients with breast cancer were identified by hospital discharge codes. Data on breast cancer incidence in the Netherlands were derived from the Dutch cancer registry. Standardized mortality ratio (SMR) was the measure of outcome to assess the association between hyperprolactinemia and breast cancer. The 1,342 patients accounted for a total of 6,576 person years. Eight patientswith breast cancer during follow-up were identified. Indirect standardization with incidence proportions from the general Dutch population revealed a 7.47 expected cases. The calculated SMR for breast cancer risk in patients treated hyperprolactinemia was 1.07 (95% confidence interval 0.50-2.03). In conclusion, there is no clear evidence for increased breast cancer risk in female patients treated for either idiopathic hyperprolactinemia or prolactinomas. The uncertainty about the exact risk that is dueto the relatively low number of breast cancer cases, should be overcome by pooling results in a future meta-analysis.

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