Skip to comments.Total darkness at night key to success of breast cancer therapy, study shows
Posted on 07/29/2014 11:24:43 AM PDT by Tired of Taxes
Exposure to light at night, which shuts off nighttime production of the hormone melatonin, renders breast cancer completely resistant to tamoxifen, a widely used breast cancer drug, says a new study by Tulane University School of Medicine cancer researchers. The study, "Circadian and Melatonin Disruption by Exposure to Light at Night Drives Intrinsic Resistance to Tamoxifen Therapy in Breast Cancer," published in the journal Cancer Research, is the first to show that melatonin is vital to the success of tamoxifen in treating breast cancer.
Principal investigators and co-leaders of Tulane's Circadian Cancer Biology Group, Steven Hill and David Blask, along with team members Robert Dauchy and Shulin Xiang, investigated the role of melatonin on the effectiveness of tamoxifen in combating human breast cancer cells implanted in rats.
"In the first phase of the study, we kept animals in a daily light/dark cycle of 12 hours of light followed by 12 hours of total darkness (melatonin is elevated during the dark phase) for several weeks," says Hill. "In the second study, we exposed them to the same daily light/dark cycle; however, during the 12 hour dark phase, animals were exposed to extremely dim light at night (melatonin levels are suppressed), roughly equivalent to faint light coming under a door."
Melatonin by itself delayed the formation of tumors and significantly slowed their growth but tamoxifen caused a dramatic regression of tumors in animals with either high nighttime levels of melatonin during complete darkness or those receiving melatonin supplementation during dim light at night exposure.
These findings have potentially enormous implications for women being treated with tamoxifen and also regularly exposed to light at night due to sleep problems, working night shifts or exposed to light from computer and TV screens.
"High melatonin levels at night put breast cancer cells to 'sleep'
(Excerpt) Read more at sciencedaily.com ...
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ping to self to read later. May make a big difference for lots of women battling this disease.
aren’t breasts normally kept in dark places (underneath bras, for example)?
Why would they not just take supplemental melatonin? Body doesn’t know the difference.
If true, couldn’t they just add a melatonin supplement to the chemo protocol?
Sorry, I had to excerpt the article for FR. At the end, the article does go on to say that melatonin could be prescribed as a supplement.
Sounds like the next thing to investigate. Just because we think the body doesn't know the difference doesn't make it so. It would have to be investigated and verified. In the meantime, I don't see any harm in women battling breast cancer trying this out.
I think there are other studies showing the benefit to total darkness (getting better sleep, Circadian rhythms, etc.).
This is advisable even if you are not a woman or don’t have breast cancer.
incredible and amazing. wonderful news.
The author would benefit from improved writing skills.
Tamoxifen needs Melatonin to be effective, and light inhibits the production of Melatonin, which in turn renders the Tamoxifen less effective.
Gee, are we getting the opinion of a 12-year-old here?
Breast cancer is a disease of the developed world, they don’t have it in undeveloped places without electric lighting.
Folks exposed to light at night, such as night shift workers, have higher rates of breast and colon cancer.
This study shows that a common cancer treatment may be rendered ineffective by even a small amount of light.
Melatonin was a cancer treatment in the past, had been overtaken by newer treatments. This doesn’t mean that melatonin or darkness can beat any cancer, but it would be wise to sleep in a totally dark room to protect the immune system.
I like to sleep in total darkness but MrD needs a tiny bit of light to get to the bathroom several times. So I wear a black sleep mask. Are they talking about light on your skin or in your eyes? My skin is under the sheets and my eyes are covered, just wondering if this would be enough. I do not have breast cancer BTW.
In a way, it is good news to know. OTOH, I just spent 2-1/2 years up late at night while on tamoxifen. *facepalm*
I sometimes take 10mg of Melatonin before bed to help me fall asleep. It works well, not habit forming.
Some of you may be wondering, “Gee, upchuck, what causes you to need a sleep aid?”
Answer: Depends on how evil nobama has been that day.
I haven’t read an explanation of whether it is the skin or eyes or both, however I think skin exposure to light is a factor in the production (or non production) of melatonin, and the safest bet is to be in darkness.
This study http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletters/Harvard_Health_Letter/2012/May/blue-light-has-a-dark-side implicates blue light.
Another found that blue light behind the knee had the same effect as daylight but it was found untrue by a later study http://www.genomenewsnetwork.org/articles/08_02/bright_knees.shtml
Yes they are until teenage boys get their hands on them.........
Thought I would share this experience re: Cancer patients.
Waiting for calls from my physician’s office, when the phone rings the caller identifies herself as ??????Cancer???and immediately launches into a solicitation with “How this charity helps cancer patients”. When I asked a question related to transportation difficulties - she made no effort to refer me to a source.
It made me wonder just how much do these “Cancer Support” entities spend on the patients and how much on their organization expenses.
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