A sequential treatment regimen with melatonin and all-trans retinoic acid induces apoptosis in MCF-7 tumour cells

Published on Sunday, 03 November 2013


Neoplastic events are marked by uncontrolled cell proliferation. One major focus of cancer research has been to identify treatments that reduce or inhibit cell growth. Over the years, various compounds, both naturally occurring and chemically synthesized, have been used to inhibit neoplastic cell proliferation.

Two such oncostatic agents, melatonin and retinoic acid, have been shown to suppress the growth of hormone-responsive breast cancer. Currently, separate clinical protocols exist for the administration of retinoids and melatonin as adjuvant therapies for cancer.

Using the oestrogen receptor (ER)-positive MCF-7 human breast tumour cell line, our laboratory has studied the effects of a sequential treatment regimen of melatonin followed by all-trans retinoic acid (atRA) on breast tumour cell proliferation in vitro. Incubation of hormonally responsive MCF-7 and T47D cells with melatonin (10(-9) M) followed 24 h later by atRA (10(-9) M) resulted in the complete cessation of cell growth as well as a reduction in the number of cells to below the initial plating density. This cytocidal effect is in contrast to the growth-suppressive effects seen with either hormone alone. This regimen of melatonin followed by atRA induced cytocidal effects on MCF-7 cells by activating pathways leading to apoptosis (programmed cell death) as evidenced by decreased ER and Bcl-2 and increased Bax and transforming growth factor beta 1 (TGF-beta1) expression.

Apoptosis was reflected morphologically by an increase in the number of lysosomal bodies and perinuclear chromatin condensation, cytoplasmic blebbing and the presence of apoptotic bodies. The apoptotic effect of this sequential treatment with melatonin and atRA appears to be both cell and regimen specific as (a) ER-negative MDA-MB-231 and BT-20 breast tumour cells were unaffected, and (b) the simultaneous administration of melatonin and atRA was not associated with apoptosis in any of the breast cancer cell lines studied.

Taken together, the results suggest that use of an appropriate regimen of melatonin and atRA should be considered for preclinical and clinical evaluation against ER-positive human breast cancer.


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See also:

- Official Web Site: The Di Bella Method;

- The Di Bella Method (A Fixed Part - Melatonin tablets. From 30-40mg/day up to 200mg/day orally in patients with advanced stage of cancer disease and/or patients without respond to traditional treatments);

- Melatonin with adenosine solubilized in water and stabilized with glycine for oncological treatment - technical preparation, effectivity and clinical findings;

- About Melatonin - In vitro, review and in vivo publications;

- All-Trans-Retinoic Acid (ATRA - analogues and/or derivatives) - In vitro, review and in vivo publications;

- The Di Bella Method (A Fixed Part - All-Trans Retinoic Acid, Analogues and/or Derivatives - Approximately 60mg per day orally: 40mg per day Beta-Carotene/β-Carotene, 10mg per day ATRA and 10mg per day Axerophthol palmitate);

- Solution of retinoids in vitamin E in the Di Bella Method biological multitherapy;

- The Di Bella Method (A Fixed Part - Alpha tocopheryl acetate/Vitamin E, approximately 20 grams per day orally).

- The Synergism of Somatostatin, Melatonin, Vitamins Prolactin and Estrogen Inhibitors Increased Survival, Objective Response and Performance Status In 297 Cases of Breast Cancer;

- Complete objective response, stable for 5 years, with the Di Bella Method, of multiple-metastatic carcinoma of the breast;

- Evaluation of the safety and efficacy of the first-line treatment with somatostatin combined with melatonin, retinoids, vitamin D3, and low doses of cyclophosphamide in 20 cases of breast cancer: a preliminary report;

- The Di Bella Method (DBM) improved survival, objective response and performance status in a retrospective observational clinical study on 122 cases of breast cancer;

- Complete objective response to biological therapy of plurifocal breast carcinoma.