Antioxidants can accelerate the spread of skin cancer. This is demonstrated by a study in Science Translational Medicine in murine and human cells. A failure to confirm in humans, these results warn of potential damage from excessive or unnecessary use of antioxidants in patients with melanoma .
- Consuming vitamin C supplements is a common habit among healthy and sick people
Antioxidants, compounds that protect cells from damage caused by reactive oxygen species, found in different types of food and nutritional supplements. In fact, consumption of vitamin C supplements, a good example of these compounds is a common habit among both healthy people and sick. However, his reputation as cancer preventive element collides with the evidence from scientific studies; some studies even indicate that it is a factor that increases the risk.
Martin Bergo group from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, had already shown in previous studies with mice that antioxidants can increase the growth of lung cancer . Therefore they suggested to people at risk of tumor to refrain from taking such supplements.
In the latter work, Bergo focuses on skin cancer and shows that antioxidants can accelerate melanoma metastasis. To do this, these scientists developed a mouse model of melanoma which N-acetylcysteine (NAC) was administered.
While the antioxidant did not influence the number of primary tumors, yes that determined their migration and invasion of these tumors to other body regions , doubling the presence of metastatic cancer in lymph nodes compared with animals that did not receive NAC.
Moreover, exposure in human melanoma cells in culture to NAC and an analogue of vitamin E obtained very similar results.
These scientists believe that antioxidants activate a protein that regulates cytoskeletal changes in cells that migrate, the so-called protein RhoA, which could explain its influence on metastasis.
Confirmed these findings with new studies, patients with melanoma should avoid antioxidant supplements, both nutritional preparations and dermatological products , in order to reduce the risk of metastasis.