Melatonin, a novel Sirt1 inhibitor, imparts antiproliferative effects against prostate cancer in vitro in culture and in vivo in TRAMP model

J Pineal Res. 2011 Mar;50(2):140-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-079X.2010.00823.x. Epub 2010 Nov 9.


We recently demonstrated that Sirt1, a NAD(+) -dependent histone deacetylase, was overexpressed in prostate cancer (PCa) and its inhibition resulted in a significant antiproliferative response in human PCa cells. Studies have suggested a link between Sirt1 and circadian rhythms, the disruption of which has been linked to cancer. Interestingly, a decreased production of the pineal melatonin has been shown to deregulate the circadian rhythm machinery and increase cancer risk. Furthermore, disruption in melatonin production and circadian rhythmicity has been associated with aging. Here, we challenged our hypothesis that melatonin will impart antiproliferative response against PCa via inhibiting Sirt1. We demonstrated that melatonin significantly inhibited Sirt1 protein and activity in vitro in multiple human PCa cell lines, and melatonin-mediated Sirt1 inhibition was accompanied with a significant decrease in the proliferative potential of PCa cells, but not of normal cells. Forced overexpression of Sirt1 partially rescued the PCa cells from melatonin's antiproliferative effects, suggesting that Sirt1 is a direct target of melatonin. Employing transgenic adenocarcinoma of mouse prostate (TRAMP) mice, we also demonstrated that oral administration of melatonin, at human-achievable doses, significantly inhibited PCa tumorigenesis as shown by decreases in (i) prostate and genitourinary weight, (ii) serum insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1)/IGF-binding protein-3 (IGFBP3) ratio, (iii) mRNA and protein levels of the proliferation markers (PCNA, Ki-67). This anti-PCa response was accompanied with a significant decrease in Sirt1 in TRAMP prostate. Our data identified melatonin as a novel inhibitor of Sirt1 and suggest that melatonin can inhibit PCa growth via Sirt1 inhibition.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / drug therapy
  • Adenocarcinoma / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Blotting, Western
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Immunoprecipitation
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor Binding Protein 3 / metabolism
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I / metabolism
  • Male
  • Melatonin / pharmacology*
  • Melatonin / therapeutic use*
  • Mice
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction


  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor Binding Protein 3
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I
  • Melatonin