July 14, 2024

New Perspective The Impact of Melatonin on Carcinogenesis in Mice after 50 Years of Research

The inhibitory effect of melatonin, a hormone produced by the pineal gland, on cancer development in mice was first demonstrated 50 years ago in 1973. Vladimir N. Anisimov and his colleagues conducted a groundbreaking study that showcased the potential of melatonin in inhibiting transplantable mammary tumors in mice. Since then, numerous studies have further explored the relationship between melatonin and cancer, revealing that administering melatonin at night through drinking water can suppress chemically induced mammary carcinogenesis in both mice and rats.

Interestingly, the reverse effect was observed when female mice and rats were exposed to continuous lighting, which disrupts melatonin production during the nighttime. These conditions were found to stimulate spontaneous and chemically induced mammary tumor development.

Currently, a PubMed search using the keywords “cancer AND melatonin AND mice” yields approximately 550 entries. In a recent research perspective published in Oncotarget, Vladimir N. Anisimov and Alexey G. Golubev from N.N. Petrov National Medical Research Center of Oncology delve into the history of studies investigating the effects of melatonin on cancer development in mice. The main takeaway from their review is that the systemic in vivo effects of melatonin on animals may overshadow the in vitro effects observed in tissue explants or cell cultures.

One crucial factor highlighted by the researchers is timing when administering melatonin. They emphasize that the timing of melatonin administration is imperative for its efficacy as a potential anti-cancer drug. Currently available over the counter, melatonin does not require licensing for its use in oncology applications.

Further research is needed to fully understand the mechanisms underlying the effects of melatonin on carcinogenesis in mice. However, the 50-year history of research in this field showcases the potential of melatonin as a promising therapeutic agent in cancer treatment. The availability of melatonin as an over-the-counter drug makes it a convenient option for further investigation and potential clinical applications.

As the understanding of melatonin’s role in cancer prevention and treatment continues to evolve, it offers hope for patients and researchers alike. The ongoing efforts to elucidate the precise mechanisms of melatonin’s action on carcinogenesis in mice may eventually lead to novel therapeutic approaches for treating cancer in humans.

1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
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