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Cancer Lett. 1992 Jul 10;64(3):249-56.

The growth inhibitory action of melatonin on human breast cancer cells is linked to the estrogen response system.

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  • 1Tulane University, School of Medicine, Department of Anatomy, New Orleans, Louisiana 70112.


The pineal hormone, melatonin, was examined for its capacity to modulate the proliferation of a panel of human breast cancer cell lines. Melatonin inhibited, to a varying extent, the proliferation of all three estrogen-responsive cell lines, but had no effect on estrogen-insensitive breast tumor cell lines. Melatonin was also able to specifically block estrogen-induced proliferation in MCF-7 breast cancer cells. However, this action was abolished in the presence of tamoxifen. Therefore, it appears that the antiproliferative effects of melatonin are mediated through the estrogen-response pathway.

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