JOURNAL ARTICLE

Night shift work and hormone levels in women

Scott Davis, Dana K Mirick, Chu Chen, Frank Z Stanczyk
Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention 2012, 21 (4): 609-18
22315366

BACKGROUND: Night shift work may disrupt the normal nocturnal rise in melatonin, resulting in increased breast cancer risk, possibly through increased reproductive hormone levels. We investigated whether night shift work is associated with decreased levels of urinary 6-sulfatoxymelatonin, the primary metabolite of melatonin, and increased urinary reproductive hormone levels.

METHODS: Participants were 172 night shift and 151 day shift-working nurses, aged 20-49 years, with regular menstrual cycles. Urine samples were collected throughout work and sleep periods and assayed for 6-sulfatoxymelatonin, luteinizing hormone (LH), follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), and estrone conjugate (E1C).

RESULTS: 6-Sulfatoxymelatonin levels were 62% lower and FSH and LH were 62% and 58% higher, respectively, in night shift-working women during daytime sleep than in day shift-working women during nighttime sleep (P ≤ 0.0001). Nighttime sleep on off-nights was associated with 42% lower 6-sulfatoxymelatonin levels among the night shift workers, relative to the day shift workers (P < 0.0001); no significant differences in LH or FSH were observed. 6-Sulfatoxymelatonin levels during night work were approximately 69% lower and FSH and LH were 35% and 38% higher, compared with day shift workers during nighttime sleep. No differences in E1C levels between night and day shift workers were observed. Within night shift workers, 6-sulfatoxymelatonin levels were lower and reproductive hormone levels were higher during daytime sleep and nighttime work, relative to nighttime sleep (P < 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS: These results indicate that night shift workers have substantially reduced 6-sulfatoxymelatonin levels during night work and daytime sleep and that levels remain low even when a night shift worker sleeps at night.

IMPACT: Shift work could be an important risk factor for many other cancers in addition to breast cancer.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article

Discussion

You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Related Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read
22315366
×

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.

×

Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"