The perils of stress reduction

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Science  13 Nov 2015:
Vol. 350, Issue 6262, pp. 784-785
DOI: 10.1126/science.350.6262.784-d

In today's health-conscious world, it is not unusual for a food item to achieve “superfood” status simply because it contains high levels of “cancer-fighting” antioxidants. This view may be simplistic, because cancer develops and progresses in multiple steps that potentially respond differently to antioxidants. Two new studies converge on the theme that, in the setting of metastasis, antioxidants help the cancer cell and hurt the host. Piskounova et al. show that melanoma cells that successfully metastasized in mice were those that had undergone certain metabolic changes that allowed them to withstand oxidative stress. Le Gal et al. show that the administration of antioxidants to mice that were predisposed to melanoma had no effect on primary tumor development, but enhanced lymph node metastases.

Nature 10.1038/nature15726 (2015); Science Transl. Med. 7, 308re8 (2015).

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