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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Effect of low frequency magnetic fields on melanoma: tumor inhibition and immune modulation

Yunzhong Nie1, Leilei Du1, Yongbin Mou2, Zhenjun Xu1, Leihua Weng1, Youwei Du3, Yanan Zhu2, Yayi Hou14* and Tingting Wang14*

Author Affiliations

1 Immunology and Reproduction Biology Lab, Medical School & State Key Laboratory of Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, Nanjing University, 210093 Nanjing, China

2 Stomatological Hospital Affiliated Medical School, Nanjing University, 22 Hankou Road, 210093 Nanjing China

3 National Laboratory of Solid Microstructures, Nanjing University, Nanjing, China

4 Jiangsu Key Laboratory of Molecular Medicine, Nanjing University, Nanjing, China

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BMC Cancer 2013, 13:582  doi:10.1186/1471-2407-13-582

Published: 6 December 2013



We previously found that the low frequency magnetic fields (LF-MF) inhibited gastric and lung cancer cell growth. We suppose that exposure to LF-MF may modulate immune function so as to inhibit tumor. We here investigated whether LF-MF can inhibit the proliferation and metastasis of melanoma and influence immune function.


The effect of MF on the proliferation, cell cycle and ultrastracture of B16-F10 in vitro was detected by cell counting Kit-8 assay, flow cytometry, and transmission electron microscopy. Lung metastasis mice were prepared by injection of 2 × 105 B16-F10 melanoma cells into the tail vein in C57BL/6 mice. The mice were then exposed to an LF-MF (0.4 T, 7.5 Hz) for 43 days. Survival rate, tumor markers and the innate and adaptive immune parameters were measured.


The growth of B16-F10 cells was inhibited after exposure to the LF-MF. The inhibition was related to induction of cell cycle arrest and decomposition of chromatins. Moreover, the LF-MF prolonged the mouse survival rate and inhibited the proliferation of B16-F10 in melanoma metastasis mice model. Furthermore, the LF-MF modulated the immune response via regulation of immune cells and cytokine production. In addition, the number of Treg cells was decreased in mice with the LF-MF exposure, while the numbers of T cells as well as dendritic cells were significantly increased.


LF-MF inhibited the growth and metastasis of melanoma cancer cells and improved immune function of tumor-bearing mice. This suggests that the inhibition may be attributed to modulation of LF-MF on immune function and LF-MF may be a potential therapy for treatment of melanoma.

Magnetic fields; Melanoma; Immune function