Interplay between Circadian Clock and Cancer: New Frontiers for Cancer Treatment

Trends Cancer. 2019 Aug;5(8):475-494. doi: 10.1016/j.trecan.2019.07.002. Epub 2019 Aug 3.


Circadian clocks constitute the evolutionary molecular machinery that dictates the temporal regulation of physiology to maintain homeostasis. Disruption of the circadian rhythm plays a key role in tumorigenesis and facilitates the establishment of cancer hallmarks. Conversely, oncogenic processes directly weaken circadian rhythms. Pharmacological modulation of core clock genes is a new approach in cancer therapy. The integration of circadian biology into cancer research offers new options for making cancer treatment more effective, encompassing the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of this devastating disease. This review highlights the role of the circadian clock in tumorigenesis and cancer hallmarks, and discusses how pharmacological modulation of circadian clock genes can lead to new therapeutic options.

Keywords: cancer hallmarks; cancer therapy; circadian clock; circadian rhythms; tumorigenesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Carcinogenesis / drug effects*
  • Carcinogenesis / genetics
  • Carcinogenesis / pathology
  • Circadian Clocks / drug effects*
  • Circadian Clocks / genetics
  • Circadian Clocks / physiology
  • Circadian Rhythm / physiology
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic / drug effects
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic / physiology
  • Homeostasis / drug effects*
  • Homeostasis / physiology
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Neoplasms / genetics
  • Neoplasms / physiopathology


  • Antineoplastic Agents