Following the finding that antioxidants might make the tumor grow faster, a recent study found that antioxidants are potential to double the rate for the metastasis of melanoma. The study was performed by the same research team from Sahlgrenska Academy that discovered the harmfulness of antioxidants on cancer last year.
Before the findings antioxidants were kind of hot in various aspects like anti-aging, halting cancer progression and etc. And the most common antioxidants should be vitamin E and acetylcysteine. They are used to neutralize the harm of free radicals that can damage cells, DNA and proteins. During the process of neutralizing these harmful elements, p53 protein which functions to hinder the growth of tumor will be made inactive, thus cancer will progress in a short time and that’s why antioxidants will increase the cancer development rate.
Melanoma metastasis was caught in the sight of scientists out of two reasons. One is that melanoma is extremely sensitive to free radicals and the other is that melanoma cells can be affected by the antioxidants in bodies in other ways besides with diet. Skin lotions that contain vitamin E or other substances like beta-carotene will affect the activities of melanoma cells in the same way of antioxidants from food or supplements. Researches in the study also had another important finding that while preventing healthy cells from being influenced by free radicals, antioxidants would turn some normal cells into malignancies. And furtherly, the antioxidants may protect mutated cells.
Data in the study showed primary melanoma tumor wouldn’t be influenced by antioxidants, but the rate of metastasis in malignant melanoma could be doubled, which is deadly for melanoma cancer patients as metastasis is the main death factor in such condition.
However, in fact cancer patients would like to take more antioxidants in the form of supplements to fight against cancer. According to this study with the result of its related clinic trials, it can be known that antioxidant supplements should be avoided in cancer patients to prevent the tumor from growing at a faster rate.
At present, the researchers are undergoing studies to know more about the mechanism of how antioxidants in skin care products like suntan lotion works to affect the tumor growth speed.
With the previous finding on antioxidants’ effect on cancer progression, this finding furtherly corrects the misconception on the advantages of antioxidants and providing people brand new knowledge on supplements that isn’t the more the better.
The study paper was published in the journal Science Translational Medicine and named as Antioxidants can Increase Melanoma Metastasis in Mice with the DOI number being 10.1126/scitranslmed.aad3740.