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Exposure to dim light at night may make breast cancers resistant to tamoxifen
Date:7/24/2014

ly the natural melatonin cycle, which may, in itself, paradoxically impair breast cancer responsiveness to tamoxifen."

For the study, Hill and colleagues analyzed rats living in either normal light/dark conditions, with 12 hours of light followed by 12 hours of complete darkness, or conditions in which there were 12 hours of normal light followed by 12 hours of dim light. Melatonin levels in the blood of rats living in normal light/dark conditions rose during the dark period before decreasing again during the light period. In rats living in the dim night light conditions, melatonin levels remained low throughout the light/dark cycle.

Tumor growth in rats living in the dim night light conditions was 2.6-fold faster compared with tumor growth in rats living in normal light/dark conditions. In addition, tumors in rats living in dim night light conditions were completely resistant to tamoxifen, whereas tumors in rats living in normal light/dark conditions regressed significantly. If rats living in dim night light conditions were given a nighttime melatonin supplement, their tumors regressed.

"These data suggest that, in the not-too distant-future, it may be possible to combine melatonin and tamoxifen," said Hill. "However, before this is done we would need to identify the optimal times of day to give the two because if the timing between the two is off, the advantage of giving them in combination may be lost. This brings up another important point: Our levels of melatonin are not determined by sleep, as many people think. It is actually the darkness that is important. During the night, if you sleep in a brightly lit room, your melatonin levels may be inhibited; however, if you are in the dark but cannot sleep, your melatonin levels will rise normally."


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Contact: Jeremy Moore
jeremy.moore@aacr.org
215-446-7109
American Association for Cancer Research
Source:Eurekalert

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