Melatonin as a regulator of apoptosis in leukaemia: molecular mechanism and therapeutic perspectives

Alireza Mafi, Hamidreza Rismanchi, Yasaman Gholinezhad, Mohaddese Malek Mohammadi, Vahide Mousavi, Seyed Ali Hosseini, Yaser Eshaghi Milasi, Russel J. Reiter, Behrooz Ghezelbash, Malihe Rezaee, Amirhossein Sheida, Fatemeh Zarepour, Zatollah Asemi, Mohammad Ali Mansournia, Hamed Mirzaei

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Leukaemia is a dangerous malignancy that causes thousands of deaths every year throughout the world. The rate of morbidity and mortality is significant despite many advancements in therapy strategies for affected individuals. Most antitumour medications used now in clinical oncology use apoptotic signalling pathways to induce cancer cell death. Accumulated data have shown a direct correlation between inducing apoptosis in cancer cells with higher tumour regression and survival. Until now, the efficacy of melatonin as a powerful antitumour agent has been firmly established. A change in melatonin concentrations has been reported in multiple tumours such as endometrial, hematopoietic, and breast cancers. Findings show that melatonin’s anticancer properties, such as its prooxidation function and ability to promote apoptosis, indicate the possibility of utilizing this natural substance as a promising agent in innovative cancer therapy approaches. Melatonin stimulates cell apoptosis via the regulation of many apoptosis facilitators, including mitochondria, cytochrome c, Bcl-2, production of reactive oxygen species, and apoptosis receptors. This paper aimed to further assess the anticancer effects of melatonin through the apoptotic pathway, considering the role that cellular apoptosis plays in the pathogenesis of cancer. The effect of melatonin may mean that it is appropriate for use as an adjuvant, along with other therapeutic approaches such as radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1224151
JournalFrontiers in Pharmacology
StatePublished - 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • apoptosis
  • leukaemia
  • melatonin
  • signalling pathway
  • therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Pharmacology


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