Melatonin in Cancer Research: Exploring Therapeutic Potential in Counteracting Cancer

Document Type : Review Article


1 Clinical Research Development Center, Najafabad Branch, Islamic Azad University, Najafabad, Iran

2 Chronic Respiratory Disease Research Center (CRDRC), National Research Institute of Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases (NRITLD), Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran


Melatonin, a hormone intricately linked to circadian rhythms, has garnered increasing attention for its potential therapeutic role in counteracting cancer. This review navigates the landscape of melatonin's influence in cancer research, emphasizing its promising capacity to counteract various facets of cancer development and progression. With widespread expression of melatonin receptors in diverse organs, its systemic impact underscores its potential as a cancer-modulating agent. The anticancer effects of melatonin have been extensively investigated, revealing its involvement in antiproliferative, antioxidative, and immunomodulatory mechanisms. Studies in cell lines and animal models have demonstrated its ability to impede cancer initiation, promotion, and progression. Clinical trials exploring melatonin's synergy with conventional therapies, including chemoradiotherapy, provide encouraging evidence of its therapeutic efficacy in counteracting cancer. Despite these promising aspects, challenges persist in translating melatonin's potential into clinical applications. Issues such as optimal dosage, administration methods, and standardization of melatonin measurements need meticulous consideration. Overcoming these challenges is essential to harness the full therapeutic potential of melatonin in cancer counteraction. This review advocates for further exploration into novel drug formulations to enhance melatonin bioavailability, establishment of standardized measurement criteria, and comprehensive clinical studies to delineate optimal dosages and long-term safety. Understanding the molecular intricacies of melatonin's counteracting effects on cancer will not only enrich our comprehension of its therapeutic potential but also pave the way for its strategic integration into cancer treatment paradigms. I hope that this assessment will motivate us to create standardized methods for researching and utilizing melatonin in the treatment of cancer.


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