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 Melatonin and breast cancer  
The following is one in an ongoing series of columns entitled Natural Medicine Research by . View all columns in series
Ray Sahelian Melatonin has been shown in previous studies to prevent the growth and multiplication on estrogen-responsive MCF-7 cells. A MCF-7 cell is a type of breast cancer cell that is frequently studied in laboratories in order to evaluate the benefits of different chemotherapeutic agents. The purpose of the current trial was to investigate the effects of melatonin on the invasion capacity of MCF-7 cells. When cancer cells grow, they have the capacity to invade other tissues and spread.

In vitro, when melatonin at physiological doses was added to MCF-7 cells, it reduced the invasiveness of these tumor cells. Physiological doses are equivalent to the amount normally found in the body when melatonin is released at night from the pineal gland. Melatonin reduced the invasiveness of MCF-7 cells by causing a decrease in cell attachment and cell motility, and probably by interacting with the estrogen-mediated mechanisms of MCF-7 cell invasiveness. These may, in part, account for melatonin's cancer-stopping action in laboratory studies.

Comments: For the past decade, many researchers, particularly in Italy, have been testing the role of melatonin in the therapy of various cancers. The early research looks promising and some of the studies have shown this hormone to slow the progression of certain cancers. Most of the time, the dosages used for therapy have ranged in the 3 to 20 mg range. If you have breast cancer, you may wish to discuss with your health care practitioner or oncologist whether adding melatonin may be an additional therapeutic option.

Cos S, Fernandez R, Guezmes A, Sanchez-Barcelo EJ. Influence of melatonin on invasive and metastatic properties of MCF-7 human breast cancer cells.Cancer Res 1998 Oct 1;58(19):4383-90

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 About The Author
Ray Sahelian, M.D., is a popular and respected physician who has been seen on numerous television programs including NBC Today, Dateline NBC, and CNN, and quoted by countless major magazines such as Newsweek He......moreRay Sahelian MD
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