The potential therapeutic actions of melatonin in colorectal cancer

Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third most common cancer and lethal disease worldwide. Melatonin, an indoleamine produced in pineal gland, shows anticancer effects on a variety of cancers, especially CRC. After clarifying the pathophysiology of CRC, the association of circadian rhythm with CRC, and the relationship between shift work and the incidence of CRC is reviewed. Next, we review the role of melatonin receptors in CRC and the relationship between inflammation and CRC. Also included is a discussion of the mechanism of gene regulation, control of cell proliferation, apoptosis, autophagy, antiangiogenesis and immunomodulation in CRC by melatonin. A review of the drug synergy of melatonin with other anticancer drugs suggests its usefulness in combination therapy. In summary, the information compiled may serve as comprehensive reference for the various mechanisms of action of melatonin against CRC, and as a guide for the design of future experimental research and for advancing melatonin as a therapeutic agent for CRC.

Horm Mol Biol Clin Investig. 2019 May 29
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Key Melatonin