Molecular mechanisms of melatonin's inhibitory actions on breast cancers

Sara Proietti, Alessandra Cucina, Russel J. Reiter, Mariano Bizzarri

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


Melatonin is involved in many physiological functions and it plays an important role in many pathological processes as well. Melatonin has been shown to reduce the incidence of experimentally induced cancers and can significantly inhibit the growth of some human tumors, namely hormone-dependent cancers. The anticancer effects of melatonin have been observed in breast cancer, both in in vivo with models of chemically induced rat mammary tumors, and in vitro studies on human breast cancer cell lines. Melatonin acts at different physiological levels and its antitumoral properties are supported by a set of complex, different mechanisms of action, involving apoptosis activation, inhibition of proliferation, and cell differentiation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2139-2157
Number of pages19
JournalCellular and Molecular Life Sciences
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jun 1 2013


  • Apoptosis
  • Breast cancer
  • Cell morphology
  • Epigenetic effects
  • Growth inhibition
  • Melatonin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Pharmacology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Cell Biology


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