Caffeine has a protective effect against the growth of human melanoma cells and may help reduce the growth of cells responsible for relapses.
This is the conclusion of a study published in the journal Molecules, carried out by the researchers of the Istituto Superiore di Sanità, in collaboration with the colleagues of two Irccs (the Italian Dermatological Institute of Rome and the Neuromed of Pozzilli) and of two universities, that of Ferrara and that of Rome Tor Vergata.
The study was focused on identifying the mechanisms by which caffeine plays an important protective role against some types of tumors, already described in many works in the literature, but not yet fully characterized at the molecular level. "Using in vitro approaches - explains Francesco Facchiano, coordinator of the study - we have identified a protein that plays a fundamental role in this beneficial action of caffeine, that is the tyrosinase enzyme which, as is well known, has a key function in the synthesis of melanin and which would carry out both a protective action against the effects of damage generated by UV rays, and an important immunomodulation function.In fact, the melanin produced by human melanoma cells exposed to caffeine was significantly increased ".
"Very important - underlines Claudio Tabolacci, first author of the article - was the choice of cellular models, which in this study are the 'melanoma initiating cells' which have interesting stem characteristics, including the ability to confer resistance to drugs. and favoring the recurrence of a tumor: caffeine significantly reduced the growth of these cells ". The results of the study open new perspectives in the field of differentiation therapy, which is aimed at differentiating cells to target only cancer cells, avoiding the appearance of relapses after chemotherapy. (HANDLE).