Effect of a 12-month randomized clinical trial of exercise on serum prolactin concentrations in postmenopausal women

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2007 May;16(5):895-9. doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-06-0701.


Prolactin is associated with an increased risk of postmenopausal breast cancer; however, few modifiable factors are known to reduce prolactin concentrations. Therefore, we examined the effect of a 12-month moderate-intensity exercise intervention on serum prolactin concentrations as a secondary end point (primary end points were estrogens and androgens). We randomly assigned 173 postmenopausal women who were sedentary, overweight (body mass index >24 kg/m(2), body fat >33%), ages 50 to 75 years, and not using hormone therapy to an exercise intervention or stretching control group. The intervention was facility- and home-based (45 min, 5 days/wk moderate-intensity sports/recreational exercise). One hundred and seventy (98%) women completed the study. Prolactin concentrations were similar at baseline (P = 0.25, geometric mean exercisers = 6.9 and controls = 7.5 ng/mL). Overall, the intervention was not associated with changes in prolactin concentrations between exercisers and controls at 3 months (P = 0.46) or 12 months (P = 0.29). The intervention effect did not vary by baseline age, body mass index, parity, or change in percent body fat during the intervention. Among exercisers, there was a significant difference in prolactin concentrations by change in fitness (VO(2)max) between baseline and 12 months. Exercisers whose VO(2)max changed by <5% had a 5% increase in prolactin concentrations, whereas those who increased their VO(2)max by 5% to 15% and >15% had a 11% (P = 0.03) and 7% (P = 0.01) decrease in prolactin concentrations, respectively. Although the exercise intervention had little effect on prolactin concentrations overall, increasing physical fitness was associated with reduced prolactin concentrations among postmenopausal women.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Body Mass Index
  • Breast Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Overweight
  • Postmenopause / blood
  • Postmenopause / physiology*
  • Prolactin / blood*


  • Prolactin