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Cell Mol Life Sci. 2013 Jun;70(12):2139-57. doi: 10.1007/s00018-012-1161-8. Epub 2012 Sep 25.

Molecular mechanisms of melatonin's inhibitory actions on breast cancers.

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Department of Clinical and Molecular Medicine, University La Sapienza, Rome, Italy.


Melatonin is involved in many physiological functions and it plays an important role in many pathological processes as well. Melatonin has been shown to reduce the incidence of experimentally induced cancers and can significantly inhibit the growth of some human tumors, namely hormone-dependent cancers. The anticancer effects of melatonin have been observed in breast cancer, both in in vivo with models of chemically induced rat mammary tumors, and in vitro studies on human breast cancer cell lines. Melatonin acts at different physiological levels and its antitumoral properties are supported by a set of complex, different mechanisms of action, involving apoptosis activation, inhibition of proliferation, and cell differentiation.

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