OBJECTIVE: The recent advances in psycho-neuro-endocrino-immunology have demonstrated the existence of several endogenous neuroendocrine substances, capable of affecting both tumor growth and host anticancer immune defenses. The pineal gland would represent one of the most important organs releasing antiproliferative and immunostimulating substances, the most known of them is melatonin (MLT). However, MLT would not be the only pineal indole provided by antitumor activity. Other pineal indoles, namely 5-methoxytryptamine (5-MTT), would play antitumor effects, by either inhibiting cancer cell proliferation or stimulating the anticancer immunity. Preliminary data have shown that MLT may deserve antitumor activity in the treatment of human neoplasms, whereas at present there are no clear data about 5-MTT. In an attempt to obtain some preliminary data about the anticancer properties of 5-MTT in humans, we have evaluated the efficacy of MLT plus 5-MTT in untreatable advanced cancer patients progressing on MLT alone. METHODS: The study included 73 untreatable advanced solid tumor patients, who had progressed after two months of MLT therapy alone. According to tumor histotype, patients were randomized to receive MLT alone (20 mg/day orally in the evening) or MLT plus 5-MTT (1 mg at noon orally), every day for at least two months. The clinical response was evaluated according to WHO criteria. RESULTS: A partial response (PR) occurred in two patients treated with MLT + 5-MTT and in none of the patients receiving MLT alone. A stable disease (SD) was achieved in only 2/37 patients on MLT therapy alone, and in 8/36 patients receiving MLT plus 5-MTT. Therefore, the percent of non-progressing patients (SD + PR) obtained with MLT plus 5-MTT was significantly higher than that obtained with MLT alone. Moreover, the relief of asthenia and depressant symptoms was significantly higher in patients concomitantly treated with 5-MTT. DISCUSSION: This preliminary study would suggest that the concomitant administration of the less known pineal indole 5-MTT, also provided by antiproliferative and immunomodulating effects, may further amplify the oncostatic activity of the pineal hormone MLT in the palliative and curative therapy of advanced untreatable human solid neoplasms.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: With the advances in the knowledge of neuroimmunomodulation, a new era of investigations about the chemical basis of the state of mind has been initiated. Both emotions and states of spiritual consciousness may influence immune functions and cancer growth. Stress, anxiety and depressive states are associated with immunosuppression and enhanced frequency of tumors. On the other hand, the states of sexual pleasure and spiritual joy enhance the immune efficacy, by counteracting tumor onset and dissemination. The biochemistry of pleasure and immunostimulation is mainly mediated by pineal indoles and cannabinergic substances, whereas that of stress, anxiety and depression is associated with enhanced production of adrenal steroids, opioids and catecholamines. The sexual repression would allow a progressive immunosuppression through a profound damage in the biochemistry of pleasure. Therefore, a better definition of psychospiritual status-associated neuroimmunochemistry could allow us to improve the immune dysfunction by acting on the same neuroendocrine secretions which are involved in mediating the psychic influence on the immunity, including that against cancer.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Melatonin, a pineal hormone, because of its wide activity spectrum, is a subject of much current interest for biologists and physicians. It has been demonstrated that pineal gland is not an exclusive source of melatonin synthesis. Melatonin synthesis has been found in different sites of the organism, and a major source of extrapineal melatonin is the gastrointestinal tract. The role of melatonin in gastrointestinal functions is considered in the present review.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: It is known since many years that the pineal gland plays an anticancer role, and melatonin (MLT), the most investigated pineal hormone, has been proven to exert antitumor activity. However, MLT would not be the only hormone responsible for the antitumor action of the pineal gland. In fact, recent advances in the pineal investigations have shown that pineal indoles other than MLT may also exert anticancer activity, namely the three main indoles, consisting of 5-methoxytriptamine (5-MTT), 5-methoxytryptophol (5-MTP) and 5-methoxy-indole acetic acid (5-MIA). Cancer progression has appeared to be associated with a concomitant decline in the pineal endocrine function. Therefore, the replacement of a complete pineal function in the advanced cancer patients would require the exogenous administration of the overall four pineal indoles. Several clinical studies have shown that MLT alone at pharmacological doses may induce a control of the neoplastic progression in about 30% of untreatable metastatic solid tumor patients. The present study was performed in an attempt to evaluate the therapeutic of a total pineal endocrine substitution therapy with its four indole hormones in cancer patients, for whom no other conventional therapy was available.
The study included 14 metastatic solid tumor patients, who had failed to respond to the conventional anticancer therapies. The pineal indoles were given orally according to a schedule elaborated in an attempt to reproduce their physiological circadian secretion during the daily photoperiod. MLT was given at 20 mg/day during the night, whereas the other indoles were given at 1 mg/day, by administering 5-MIA in the morning, 5-MTP at noon and 5-MTT in the afternoon.
A disease-control was achieved in 9/14 (64%) patients, consisting of partial response (PR) in one patient and stable disease (SD) in the other 8 patients. The median time of disease-control (PR + SD) was 6 months (range: 4-10).
This preliminary study shows that a total pineal endocrine replacement therapy by an exogenous administration of the overall four pineal indoles may induce a disease-control in about 60% of untreatable metastatic solid tumor patients. Then, these results would be clearly superior with respect to those described with MLT alone, by confirming in humans that MLT is not the only hormone responsible for the anticancer property of the pineal gland. Since Cartesius was the first author who suggested the fundamental role of the pineal in the connection between consciousness and biological life, this therapy could be defined as a Cartesian therapy.
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