Melatonin is an appropriate candidate for breast cancer treatment: Based on known molecular mechanisms

J Cell Biochem. 2019 Aug;120(8):12208-12215. doi: 10.1002/jcb.28832. Epub 2019 Apr 30.


Breast cancer is the most prevalent cancer and one of the most important causes of death in women throughout the world. Breast cancer risk factors include smoking, alcohol consumption, personal and family history, hypertension, and hormone therapy, long-term use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and tobacco usage. Surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, immunotherapy, and neoadjuvant therapy are the current means for breast cancer treatment. Despite hormonal agents and chemotherapy, which have beneficial effects on lowering breast cancer death rate, the reaction of different people to these treatments is still a challenging point. Melatonin (N-acetyl-5-methoxy tryptamine) is a methoxy indole compound that is mainly secreted by the pineal gland at night; it is as an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and oncostatic agent. On the basis of recent studies, melatonin has antitumor properties on different cancer types and it may suppress cancer development in vitro and as well as in animal models. It is suggested that melatonin inhibits the development of breast cancer by various mechanisms. This paper summarizes the roles of melatonin in breast cancer treatment from the aspect of its molecular actions.

Keywords: anti-inflammatory; anti-oncotic; breast cancer; melatonin.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / pathology
  • Melatonin / therapeutic use*
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Signal Transduction


  • Melatonin