Antioxidants Can Double Rate of Melanoma Metastasis; New Results Reinforce Earlier Findings That Antioxidants Hasten Progression of Lung Cancer; Researchers Advise Cancer Patients to Avoid Antioxidant Supplements

Fresh research at Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Sweden, has found that antioxidants can double the rate of melanoma metastasis in mice. The results reinforce previous findings that antioxidants hasten the progression of lung cancer. According to Professor Martin Bergö of the Academy, people with cancer or an elevated risk of developing the disease should avoid nutritional supplements that contain antioxidants. Researchers at Sahlgrenska Academy demonstrated in January 2014 that antioxidants hastened and aggravated the progression of lung cancer. Mice that were given antioxidants developed additional and more aggressive tumors. Experiments on human lung cancer cells confirmed the results. Given well-established evidence that free radicals can cause cancer, the research community had simply assumed that antioxidants, which destroy them, provide protection against the disease. Found in many nutritional supplements, antioxidants are widely marketed as a means of preventing cancer. Because the lung cancer studies called the collective wisdom into question, they attracted a great deal of attention. The follow-up studies at Sahlgrenska Academy have now found that antioxidants double the rate of metastasis in malignant melanoma, the most perilous type of skin cancer. The new results were published online on October 7, 2015 in Science Translational Medicine. The article is titled “Antioxidants Can Increase Melanoma Metastasis in Mice.” "As opposed to the lung cancer studies, the primary melanoma tumor was not affected," Professor Bergö says. "But the antioxidant boosted the ability of the tumor cells to metastasize, an even more serious problem because metastasis is the cause of death in the case of melanoma.
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