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Melatonin shows potential to slow tumor growth in certain breast cancers
Date:1/28/2014

DETROIT An early stage study shows melatonin a hormone that regulates the body's sleep and awake cycles may have the potential to help slow the growth of certain breast cancer tumors, according to researchers from Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit and Foundation for Research Support of the State of So Paulo.

The study, published online in the journal PLoS One, finds that melatonin may inhibit tumor growth and cell production, as well as block the formation of new blood vessels in ER-negative breast cancer models.

"These early stage research results with the melatonin drug in a triple-negative breast cancer animal models achieved in our lab has not been seen anywhere else," says study co-author Adarsh Shankar, a research assistant in the Department of Radiology at Henry Ford Hospital.

"The key finding of the study is that we now know that we can trace this drug and its effect on tumor growth, which opens the door for more research on this topic."

Melatonin is a hormone naturally produced by the brain's pineal gland in response to darkness, and it is also available as a man-made supplement.

Because of melatonin's suspected antioxidant properties, some believe it may suppress the growth of some types of cancer cells, especially when combined with certain anti-cancer drugs, according to the American Cancer Society.

A promising tactic in limiting cancer progression is controlling angiogenesis, the formation of new blood vessels. Once a tumor exceeds a few millimeters in diameter, hypoxia (lack of oxygen) triggers a cascade of events to allow angiogenesis and tumor progression.

To determine the therapeutic effectiveness of melatonin on tumor growth, the Henry Ford Hospital and Foundation for Research Support of the State of So Paulo researchers evaluated the action of melatonin on angiogenesis in ER-negative breast cancer in vitro and in vivo using cell and mouse models respectively.

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Contact: Krista Hopson
khopson1@hfhs.org
313-874-7207
Henry Ford Health System
Source:Eurekalert

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