An effective mechanism for interfering with prolactin signalling would provide a powerful tool for clarifying the importance of prolactin in breast cancer, as well as for investigating functions of prolactin in other tissues. Based on our previous identification of a dominant-negative mutation in the growth hormone receptor that causes familial short stature, we investigated the potential for using a similar truncated mutant of the prolactin receptor (PRLR1-242). Like the mutant growth hormone receptor, PRLR1-242 exerts an exceptionally powerful dominant-negative effect. A probable explanation for the strong dominant-negative activity of this class of mutation is that, lacking internalisation motifs, the truncated mutants accumulate at the cell surface and form non-functional heterodimers with wild-type receptors. In accordance with evidence for heterodimer formation between the two receptors, PRLR1-242 also blocks signalling by the growth hormone receptor. When expressed from an adenoviral vector, PRLR1-242 inhibits activation of STAT5 (signal transducer and activator of transcription 5) by prolactin in T47-D breast cancer cells, and blocks the ability of prolactin to induce proliferation in these cells. Thus PRLR1-242 provides an effective means of blocking the responsiveness of target tissues to human prolactin.