New scientific evidence supports previous findings that taking antioxidant supplements may accelerate the spread of the deadliest form of skin cancer, melanoma.
Researchers from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, have added new data to a study on the effects of antioxidants on the development of malignant tumors. In earlier work with human cancer tissue models and mouse samples, the researchers demonstrated that antioxidants can accelerate the development of lung cancer and accelerate the spread of malignant melanoma.
Now, after studying some antioxidants that bind to mitochondria, the team has presented further evidence that the substances either do not affect tumor growth or accelerate it.
Mitochondria are tiny power plants in cells that provide them with energy. Many people believe that because antioxidants neutralize a class of compounds called free radicals that can damage cells, they may protect against cancer. However, this research further shows that this is not the case.
On the contrary, antioxidants "have no effect, or they make the situation worse," notes Dr. Le Gal Beneroso. "In mice with malignant melanoma, tumors grew significantly faster than in untreated control animals," she adds.
“The researchers conclude that their findings show that dietary antioxidant supplementation increases metastasis in malignant melanoma” and that “antioxidants targeting mitochondria do not inhibit cancer progression.”
The team reaffirmed the previous recommendation that people with cancer or at high risk of developing it "should avoid the use of antioxidant supplements."