Prolactin, a pituitary peptide hormone with multiple effects, stimulates prostate growth in experimental models. In humans, prolactin receptors are present in the prostate and are particularly abundant in pre-cancerous lesions. This suggests that prolactin could also be involved in the development of prostate cancer. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that elevated levels of circulating prolactin are associated with an increase in prostate cancer risk. We conducted a case-control study nested within the Northern Sweden Health and Disease Cohort using plasma samples collected from 29,560 men at a health survey. We measured prolactin in plasma from 144 men who had a diagnosis of prostate cancer after a median follow-up time of 4 years after health survey and from 289 controls matched for age and date of recruitment. Risk was not associated with plasma prolactin levels in univariate regression analysis. Odds ratios of prostate cancer for increasing quartiles of prolactin were 1.0, 0.92 (95% CI 0.51-1.65), 0.82 (0.45-1.51) and 0.85 (0.49-1.47). Relative risk estimates remained unchanged after adjustments for height and weight or for plasma levels of testosterone, sex hormone-binding globulin, IGF-I and IGF-binding protein-3. Elevated circulating levels of prolactin were not related to an increase in prostate cancer risk, indicating that high circulating prolactin is not associated with development of prostate cancer.