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Study Finds Link Between Tamoxifen-Resistant Tumors in Breast Cancer and Melatonin Levels

Study Finds Link Between Tamoxifen-Resistant Tumors in Breast Cancer and Melatonin Levels | Cancer - Advances, Knowledge, Integrative & Holistic Treatments | Scoop.it
New research from Tulane University points to a connection between levels of the hormone melatonin and drug resistant breast cancer.
Graham Player Ph.D.'s insight:

A study published in the journal Cancer Research points to a connection between low melatonin levels and resistance to tamoxifen, a common breast cancer drug.

Melatonin is a hormone found in animals, plants, and microbes. It is produced in our pineal gland, and forms part of the system that regulates our sleep–wake cycle by chemically causing drowsiness and lowering the body temperature. Our levels of melatonin vary during the day and are biologically synchronized to our daily environmental cycle.

It is known that melatonin interacts with our immune system, is inhibited by light to the retina, and permitted by darkness. Its production decreases as we age.

A study now suggests that suppressed production of melatonin, as a result of sleeping with a light on at night, reduces the effectiveness of the breast-cancer drug tamoxifen. The researchers found that the nighttime levels of melatonin alone slowed the growth of the tumors, but when tamoxifen was also administered ahead of the period of darkness, the tumors regressed even faster.

Steven Hill, professor of structural and cellular biology and chair for breast cancer research at the Tulane University School of Medicine suggests that the timing of when breast cancer patients take their medication may be something to consider, and points out that “The FDA has no guidelines on when during the day you should take tamoxifen. So take your tamoxifen at night right before you go to bed, and I think our study suggests that melatonin will turn off a number of pathways that would prevent tamoxifen from working.”

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UK Women Offered Breast Cancer Drug

UK Women Offered Breast Cancer Drug | Cancer - Advances, Knowledge, Integrative & Holistic Treatments | Scoop.it
Thousands of women across Britain with a family history of breast cancer are to be offered drugs on the NHS to help prevent the disease.
Graham Player Ph.D.'s insight:

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence says tamoxifen or raloxifene taken daily for five years can cut breast cancer risk by 40%.

 

Based on that it seems the UK's National Health System will be offered these drugs.

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Breast Cancer Responds Equally Well to Gel Rather Than Oral Drug, and With Less Side Effects

Breast Cancer Responds Equally Well to Gel Rather Than Oral Drug, and With Less Side Effects | Cancer - Advances, Knowledge, Integrative & Holistic Treatments | Scoop.it
Tamoxifen applied to the skin is shown by a study to be as effective as the pill version, with fewer problems.
Graham Player Ph.D.'s insight:

The drug tamoxifen is used to treat women with estrogen receptor-positive cancer, which relies on estrogen to grow. When taken for five years, the drug can cut in half the risk of recurrence of this type of cancer. Yet comes with many known side effects.

A gel has now been developed containing the drug tamoxifen that can be applied to the skin. Research published in Clinical Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, said that the gel was applied to the breasts of women diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in situ, or DCIS. All the women had DCIS that was sensitive to estrogen. The study found that after 6 to 10 weeks of gel application, the reduction in a marker for cancer cell growth in the breast tissue was similar to that of the orally administered tamoxifen.

Seema Khan, a surgical oncologist at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, and the lead author of the study said that the gel causes fewer side effects because the drug is concentrated in the breast tissue, and doesn’t circulate much in the blood. “The gel minimized exposure to the rest of the body and concentrated the drug in the breast where it is needed,” Khan said. “There was very little drug in the bloodstream, which should avoid potential blood clots as well as an elevated risk of uterine cancer.”

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