Can melatonin prevent onset breast cancer in mouse xenograft model – Prof Engelbrecht
Prof Anna-Mart Engelbrecht
Title of the project
Can melatonin prevent onset breast cancer in mouse xenograft model?
Breast cancer continues to be a major problem for women worldwide. Conditions such as obesity and overweight are risk factors that have reached epidemic proportions. Obesity has been suggested as a risk factor for the development of breast and colon cancer. Since limited progress has been made to change the lifestyle and diet behavior of obese and overweight persons, there is a need for other preventative measures to combat breast cancer. Several decades of observational data have accumulated to implicate a potential role for melatonin in the prevention of cancer. Although the antineoplastic activity of melatonin has been described in several in vitro and observational studies, no knowledge exists regarding the preventative effect of melatonin in a xenograft mouse model (with an uncompromised immune system) where breast cancer is induced. The xenograft mouse model which is established in the researchers’ lab serves as an ideal model to detect early markers of cancer. Therefore, the aims of this study are two-fold: to determine if melatonin has an anti-neoplastic effect in the xenograft mouse model; and to detect early markers of cancer in the model.
Although chemotherapy undoubtedly remains a major breakthrough in combating cancer and has been shown to significantly increase the survival rate of cancer patients, its use is limited due to the detrimental side effects it induces. Doxorubicin-induced cardiac and muscle toxicity poses a major clinical challenge to the collaborative fields of cardio-oncology and a compelling need for novel or adjuvant therapeutic agents is needed. The researchers have demonstrated that melatonin serves as such an agent and that the administration of melatonin during chemotherapy shows great promise in the therapeutic avenue as demonstrated by this study which has shown that it both halts the spread of cancer and is cardio- and skeletal muscle protective.