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Front. Pharmacol. | doi: 10.3389/fphar.2018.01086

Promising anti-neoplastic actions of melatonin.

Gaia Favero1, Enrico Moretti1, Francesca Bonomini1, Luigi F. Rodella1 and  Rita Rezzani1*
  • 1Dipartimento di Scienze Cliniche e Sperimentali, Università di Brescia, Italy

Melatonin is an endogenous indoleamine with an incredible variety of properties and activities. In recent years, an increasing number of studies have investigated this indoleamine’s interaction with cancerous cells. In particular, it seems that melatonin not only has the ability to improve the efficacy of many drugs used in chemotherapy, but it also has a direct inhibitory action on neoplastic cells. Many publications underlined the ability of melatonin to suppress proliferation of various cancer cells or to modulate the expression of membrane receptors on these cells, thereby, reducing tumor aggressiveness to metastasize. Also, while melatonin has anti-apoptotic actions in normal cells, in many cancer cells it has pro-apoptotic effects and these dichotomous actions have emerging and growing interest. The increasing concern on melatonin in the oncologic field and the mounting number of studies on this topic require a deep understanding of what we already know about anti-neoplastic actions of melatonin. This information would be of value for a potential use of melatonin against neoplastic diseases.

Keywords: Apoptosis, Cancer hallmarks, Caspases, Melatonin, oncology

Received: 22 Jun 2018; Accepted: 06 Sep 2018.

Edited by:

Lina Ghibelli, Università degli Studi di Roma Tor Vergata, Italy

Reviewed by:

Ignacio Bejarano, Universidad de Extremadura, Spain
Gilberto Spadoni, Dipartimento di Scienze Biomolecolari, Università degli Studi di Urbino Carlo Bo, Italy  

Copyright: © 2018 Favero, Moretti, Bonomini, Rodella and Rezzani. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Prof. Rita Rezzani, Dipartimento di Scienze Cliniche e Sperimentali, Università di Brescia, Brescia, 25123, Lombardy, Italy,