Hypoxia has an important role in tumor progression via the up-regulation of growth factors and cellular adaptation genes. These changes promote cell survival, proliferation, invasion, metastasis, angiogenesis, and energy metabolism in favor of cancer development. Hypoxia also plays a central role in determining the resistance of tumors to chemotherapy. Hypoxia of the tumor microenvironment provides an opportunity to develop new therapeutic strategies that may selectively induce apoptosis of the hypoxic cancer cells. Melatonin is well known for its role in the regulation of circadian rhythms and seasonal reproduction. Numerous studies have also documented the anti-cancer properties of melatonin, including anti-proliferation, anti-angiogenesis, and apoptosis promotion. In this paper, we hypothesized that melatonin exerts anti-cancer effects by inhibiting hypoxia-induced pathways. Considering this action, co-administration of melatonin in combination with other therapeutic medications might increase the effectiveness of anti-cancer drugs. In this review, we discussed the possible signaling pathways by which melatonin inhibits hypoxia-induced cancer cell survival, invasion, migration, and metabolism, as well as tumor angiogenesis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology
- Inorganic Chemistry
- Computer Science Applications
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Organic Chemistry