(HealthDay News) — Men with higher levels of melatonin may have a lower risk of developing prostate cancer, according to a study presented at the AACR-Prostate Cancer Foundation Conference on Advances in Prostate Cancer Research, held from Jan. 18 to 21 in San Diego.

Sarah C. Markt, M.P.H., from the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, and colleagues examined the association between urinary 6-sulfatoxymelatonin concentrations, sleep patterns, and the risk of prostate cancer in 928 Icelandic men from 2002 to 2009.

The researchers found that 111 men were newly diagnosed with prostate cancer, including 24 with advanced disease. The median concentration of 6-sulfatoxymelatonin was 17.14 nanograms per milliliter. Levels of 6-sulfatoxymelatonin were significantly lower in men who reported sleep problems at baseline. After adjusting for potential confounders, men with high levels of 6-sulfatoxymelatonin had a significantly lower prostate cancer risk (hazard ratio, 0.25).

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“Higher urinary 6-sulfatoxymelatonin levels were associated with a decreased risk of prostate cancer, particularly advanced disease,” Markt and colleagues conclude.

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