Insights on melatonin as an active pharmacological molecule in cancer prevention: what's new?

Geir Bjorklund, Samiul Alam Rajib, Nadia Saffoon, Joeri J Pen, Salvatore Chirumbolo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Along with playing an important role in circadian rhythm, melatonin is thought to play a significant role in preventing cells from damage, as well as in the inhibition of growth and in triggering of apoptosis in malignant cells. Its relationship with circadian rhythms, energetic homeostasis, diet, and metabolism, is fundamental to achieve a better comprehension of how melatonin has been considered a chemopreventive molecule, though very few papers dealt with this issue. In this article, we tried to review the most recent evidence regarding the protective as well as the antitumoral mechanisms of melatonin, as related to diet and metabolic balance. From different studies, it was evident that an intracellular antioxidant defense mechanism is activated by upregulating an antioxidant gene battery in the presence of high-dose melatonin in malignant cells. Like other broad-spectrum antioxidant molecules, melatonin plays a vital role in killing tumor cells, preventing metastasis, and simultaneously keeping normal cells protected from oxidative stress and other types of tissue damage.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6304-6320
Number of pages17
JournalCurrent Medicinal Chemistry
Issue number34
Early online date30 Apr 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Journal Article
  • Melatonin
  • antioxidant
  • metastasis
  • oxidative stress.
  • apoptosis
  • breast cancer
  • Neoplasms/metabolism
  • Mitochondria/metabolism
  • Oxidative Stress
  • T-Lymphocytes/immunology
  • Humans
  • Diet
  • Melatonin/metabolism
  • Adipose Tissue/metabolism
  • Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition
  • oxidative stress


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