Potential anticarcinogenic action of melatonin and other antioxidants mediated by antioxidative mechanisms.

: The complex process of carcinogenesis is, to a large extent, due to oxidative stress. Numerous indicators of oxidative damage are enhanced in the result of the action of carcinogens. Several antioxidants protect, with different efficacy, against oxidative abuse, exerted by carcinogens. Recently, melatonin (N-acetyl-5-methoxytryptamine) and some other indoleamines have gained particular meaning in the defense against oxidative stress and, consequently, carcinogenesis. Some antioxidants, like ascorbic acid, play a bivalent role in the antioxidative defense, revealing, under specific conditions, prooxidative effects. Among known antioxidants, melatonin is particularly frequently applied in experimental models of anticarcinogenic action. In the numerous studies, examining several parameters of oxidative damage and using several in vitro and in vivo models, this indoleamine has been shown to protect DNA and cellular membranes from the oxidative abuse caused by carcinogens. When either preventing or decreasing the oxidative damage to macromolecules, melatonin also protects against the initiation of cancer. The protection provided by melatonin and some other antioxidants against cellular damage, due to carcinogens, make them potential therapeutic supplements in the conditions of increased cancer risk.

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