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Estrogens plays an essential role in the etiology of human breast, ovarian and endometrial carcinoma. Activation of estrogen receptors contributes to the growth and metastasis of these common estrogen-dependent tumors found in women. Recent studies reveal that melatonin, main hormone secreted by pineal gland, has been involved in the regulation of cancer cells growth. The oncostatic properties of this molecule has been considered on different kinds of tumors but especially on hormone dependent breast cancer. There is general agreement that in vivo melatonin reduces the incidence and the activity of growth rate of tumor and inhibits the proliferation and invasiveness of cancer cells in vitro. The actual anticancer therapeutic strategy treats estrogens as a target and considered possibility of using melatonin as an antiestrogenic drug. The interaction of this indolamine with estrogen-signaling pathways could be explained through several mechanisms. Melatonin may act: a) indirect by down-regulation hypothalamic-pituitary-reproductive axis leading to decrease level of circulating gonadal estrogens or b) behaving as selective estrogen receptor modulator (SERM) and as a selective estrogen enzyme modulator (SEEM). Either indirectly or directly melatonin and estrogen interaction suggest that melatonin may be useful drug in the prevention and treatment hormone-dependent cancers.

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The Editorial Board
Andrzej Łukaszyk - przewodniczący, Zofia Bielańska-Osuchowska, Szczepan Biliński, Mieczysław Chorąży, Aleksander Koj, Włodzimierz Korochoda, Leszek Kuźnicki, Aleksandra Stojałowska, Lech Wojtczak

Editorial address:
Katedra i Zakład Histologii i Embriologii Uniwersytetu Medycznego w Poznaniu, ul. Święcickiego 6, 60-781 Poznań, tel. +48 61 8546453, fax. +48 61 8546440, email:

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