Oncostatic activities of melatonin: Roles in cell cycle, apoptosis, and autophagy

Niloufar Targhazeh, Russel J. Reiter, Mahdi Rahimi, Durdi Qujeq, Tooba Yousefi, Mohammad Hassan Shahavi, Seyed Mostafa Mir

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Melatonin, the major secretory product of the pineal gland, not only regulates circadian rhythms, mood, and sleep but also has actions in neoplastic processes which are being intensively investigated. Melatonin is a promising molecule which considered a differentiating agent in some cancer cells at both physiological and pharmacological concentrations. It can also reduce invasive and metastatic status through receptors MT1 and MT2 cytosolic binding sites, including calmodulin and quinone reductase II enzyme, and nuclear receptors related to orphan members of the superfamily RZR/ROR. Melatonin exerts oncostatic functions in numerous human malignancies. An increasing number of studies report that melatonin reduces the invasiveness of several human cancers such as prostate cancer, breast cancer, liver cancer, oral cancer, lung cancer, ovarian cancer, etc. Moreover, melatonin's oncostatic activities are exerted through different biological processes including antiproliferative actions, stimulation of anti-cancer immunity, modulation of the cell cycle, apoptosis, autophagy, the modulation of oncogene expression, and via antiangiogenic effects. This review focuses on the oncostatic activities of melatonin that targeted cell cycle control, with special attention to its modulatory effects on the key regulators of the cell cycle, apoptosis, and telomerase activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)44-59
Number of pages16
StatePublished - Sep 2022


  • Anti-cancer
  • Apoptosis
  • Autophagy
  • Cell cycle
  • Melatonin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry


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