Non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is a leading cause of death from cancer worldwide. Melatonin, an indoleamine discovered in the pineal gland, exerts pleiotropic anticancer effects against a variety of cancer types. In particular, melatonin may be an important anticancer drug in the treatment of NSCLC. Herein, we review the correlation between the disruption of the melatonin rhythm and NSCLC incidence; we also evaluate the evidence related to the effects of melatonin in inhibiting lung carcinogenesis. Special focus is placed on the oncostatic effects of melatonin, including anti-proliferation, induction of apoptosis, inhibition of invasion and metastasis, and enhancement of immunomodulation. We suggest the drug synergy of melatonin with radio- or chemotherapy for NSCLC could prove to be useful. Taken together, the information complied herein may serve as a comprehensive reference for the anticancer mechanisms of melatonin against NSCLC, and may be helpful for the design of future experimental research and for advancing melatonin as a therapeutic agent for NSCLC.
Keywords: drug synergy; melatonin; non-small-cell lung cancer; oncostatic effects; potential directions.