Prolactin as an autocrine/paracrine growth factor in human cancer

Published on Sunday, 21 April 2013


Prolactin (PRL) has a dual function -- as a circulating hormone and as a cytokine. This understanding is based on PRL production and distinct regulation in extrapituitary sites, its binding to membrane receptors of the cytokine receptor superfamily, and activation of signaling pathways that promote cell growth and survival.

There is increasing evidence that PRL plays a role in several types of cancer in reproductive and non-reproductive tissues via local production or accumulation.

The expression of both PRL and its receptor in human cancer cell lines of diverse origin lends further support to its action as an autocrine/paracrine growth factor.

Establishment of PRL as an active participant in tumorigenesis should inspire the development of novel therapies aimed at reducing tumor growth by suppressing PRL production or by blocking its receptors.



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