J Cancer 2016; 7(7):831-836. doi:10.7150/jca.14573

Research Paper

The Reduction in Circulating Melatonin Level May Contribute to the Pathogenesis of Ovarian Cancer: A Retrospective Study

Min Zhao*, Jiayi Wan2*, Ke Zeng3, Mancy Tong4, Arier C Lee5, Jinxin Ding6✉, Qi Chen4,6✉

1. Wuxi Maternity and Children Health Hospital, Nanjing Medical University, China;
2. Department of Pathology, Wuxi No 2 People' Hospital, Nanjing Medical University, China;
3. Department of Orthopaedics, Wuxi No 2 People' Hospital, Nanjing Medical University, China.
4. Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, The University of Auckland, New Zealand;
5. Section of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Population Health, The University of Auckland, New Zealand.
6. The Hospital of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Fudan University, China.
* Zhao M and Wan JY contributed equally to this work.

Abstract

Ovarian cancer is the third most common gynaecological malignancy. Changes in circadian rhythms such as bright light exposure may affect female reproductive physiology. Night shift work is associated with higher risks of developing gynaecological cancers. In addition, the season of birth is also suggested as an important environmental risk factor for developing gynaecological cancers. Melatonin may play an important role in this association as a marker of circadian rhythms. Serum from 96 women with ovarian cancer and 40 healthy women were collected and the level of melatonin was measured. In addition 277 women with ovarian cancer and 1076 controls were retrospectively collected for season of birth analysis over seven years. The serum levels of melatonin were significantly lower in women with ovarian cancer compared with healthy women (p<0.05). However there was no difference in melatonin levels in perimenopausal and postmenopausal patients. In addition, there is no statistically significant difference in seasonal distribution of birth between ovarian cancer patients and the control group. The melatonin levels in ovarian cancer patients and controls were not associated with the season of birth. Our results demonstrate the lower serum levels of melatonin in ovarian cancer patients which may contribute to the pathogenesis of ovarian cancer. The incidence of ovarian cancer was not associated with the season of birth. The serum levels of melatonin do not appear to be associated with season of birth in ovarian cancer patients.

Keywords: ovarian cancer, melatonin, season of birth, menopause.

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How to cite this article:
Zhao M, Wan J, Zeng K, Tong M, Lee AC, Ding J, Chen Q. The Reduction in Circulating Melatonin Level May Contribute to the Pathogenesis of Ovarian Cancer: A Retrospective Study. J Cancer 2016; 7(7):831-836. doi:10.7150/jca.14573. Available from http://www.jcancer.org/v07p0831.htm