Molecular mechanism of inhibitory effects of melatonin on prostate cancer cell proliferation, migration and invasion

PLoS One. 2022 Jan 21;17(1):e0261341. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0261341. eCollection 2022.


The increasing incidence of prostate cancer (PCa) indicates an urgent need for the development of new effective drug therapy. There are limited options to treat the PCa, this study tried to determine a new therapy option for this acute cancer. Androgen-independent PCa cell lines PC3 and DU145 were treated with different melatonin concentrations (0.1~3.5 mM) for 1~3 days and assessed cell migration, cell invasion, cycle arrest in G0/G1 phase as well as apoptosis. We utilized RNA-seq technology to analyze the transcriptional misregulation pathways in DU145 prostate cancer cell line with melatonin (0.5 mM) treatment. Data revealed 20031 genes were up and down-regulated, there were 271 genes that differentially expressed: 97 up-regulated (P<0.05) and 174 down-regulated (P<0.05) genes. Furthermore, RNA-seq results manifested that the melatonin treatment led to a significant increase in the expression levels of HPGD, IL2Rβ, NGFR, however, IGFBP3 and IL6 (P <0.05) had decreased expression levels. The immunoblot assay revealed the expression of IL2Rβ and NGFR genes was up-regulated, qPCR confirmed the gene expression of HPGD and IL2RB were also up-regulated in Du145 cells. Consequently, we probed mechanisms that generate kinetic patterns of NF-κB-dependent gene expression in PCa cells responding to a NF-κB-activation, the significant results were indicated by the inhibition of the NF-kB pathway via IL2Rβ actions. Based on our investigation, it could be concluded that melatonin is a chemotherapeutic molecule against PCa and provides a new idea for clinical therapy of PCa.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prostatic Neoplasms*

Grant support

The work was supported by the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, School of Life Sciences, Central South University. And solely funded by the National Basic Research Program of China (Grant No. 2011CB910700-704), the funding body helped to interpret the data and guided in preparing the manuscript.