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Int J Neurosci. 1992 Jan;62(1-2):89-96.

Is the pineal gland involved in the pathogenesis of endometrial carcinoma.

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Department of Psychiatry, Albert Einstein College of Medicine/Montefiore Medical Center, Bronx, NY 10461.


The pathogenesis of endometrial carcinoma, which is the most common malignant neoplasm of the female genital tract, is unknown. It is believed that a prolonged period of increased estrogenic exposure unopposed by progesterone may underlie the malignant transformation of the endometrial cells. In the following communication, we propose that deficient melatonin functions may be an additional endocrine factor implicated in the pathogenesis of endometrial carcinoma. This hypothesis is based on the observations that: (a) melatonin has antiestrogenic properties; (b) melatonin stimulates progesterone production which opposes the action of estrogens; (c) an increased rate of endometrial hyperplasia, a premalignant condition, has been noted during the winter, a time of year associated with diminished melatonin secretion; (d) an increased incidence of anovulatory cycles, which is a risk factor for endometrial carcinoma, occurs in the winter; (e) melatonin secretion decreases sharply during the menopause, a period associated with an increased risk of endometrial carcinoma; (f) obesity, which is a major risk factor for endometrial carcinoma, is associated with impaired circadian melatonin secretion; (g) diabetes mellitus, which is an additional risk factor for endometrial carcinoma, is associated with decreased melatonin secretion and an increased rate of pineal calcification; and (h) the prevalence of endometrial carcinoma is lower in the black population compared to the white population. Similarly, the incidence of pineal calcification, which reflects the secretory activity of the gland, is significantly lower in the African and American black populations as compared to the white population.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

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