Chapter 5

Melatonin as an Anti-cancer Agent

Khulood M. Al-Khater


Cancer is a disease that causes a huge health burden for communities. Despite the great progress made in diagnostic tools for cancer and the advancement of treatment strategies, cancer is still one of the commonest causes of death in the world. Melatonin, a hormone produced mainly by the pineal gland, possesses an anti-cancer property. The discovery of this effect of melatonin on cancer cells was a breakthrough in the field of cancer research. Several lines of evidence support this property of melatonin, including in vitro and in vivo studies and clinical trials. This effect of melatonin was examined in various types of cancer, and a consensus has been reached with regard to its oncostatic/anti-cancer effect. Multiple mechanisms have been proposed for this effect of melatonin, among which are the anti-oxidant, antiinflammatory, anti-estrogen/androgen, anti-angiogenic, and pro-apoptotic actions of melatonin. This chapter presents an account on the anti-cancer effect of melatonin, focusing on mechanisms of action by presenting examples of cancer types, including the most common types of cancer in the world: cancers of the lung, prostate, breast, and colon, as well as ovarian cancer.

Total Pages: 97-154 (58)

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