The aetiology of male breast cancer is still considered to be rather unclear. Epidemiological studies have recently shown an excess risk of male breast cancer in "electrical workers" with potential exposure to electromagnetic (EM) fields. Interest on the possible association between pineal function and breast cancer has come into focus. The pineal hormone melatonin has been shown to reduce the incidence of experimentally-induced breast cancer in rats, the hormone is oncostatic and cytotoxic to breast, ovarian, and bladder cancer cell lines in vitro. Treatment of cancer patients with orally administered melatonin has been tried. Pineal function in humans is suppressed by light-at-night (LAN). Animal studies have shown that exposure to 60-Hz electric fields may also suppress the nocturnal rise in pineal melatonin production in adult rats. Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among women in industrialised world. No good explanation has so far been provided for the increased incidence of this site during the last decades, although changes in fertility factors have had some effect. If new epidemiological and experimental data give support to the hypothesis that exposure to LAN and EM fields may increase breast cancer risk, this may have regulatory and political consequences for future use of electric power.
Electromagnetic fields and male breast cancer