Regulation of cancer cell glucose metabolism is determinant for cancer cell fate after melatonin administration

Carmen Rodríguez, Noelia Puente-Moncada, Russel J. Reiter, Ana M. Sánchez-Sánchez, Federico Herrera, Jezabel Rodríguez-Blanco, Cristina Duarte-Olivenza, María Turos-Cabal, Isaac Antolín, Vanesa Martín

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Several oncogenic pathways plus local microenvironmental conditions, such as hypoxia, converge on the regulation of cancer cells metabolism. The major metabolic alteration consists of a shift from oxidative phosphorylation as the major glucose consumer to aerobic glycolysis, although most of cancer cells utilize both pathways to a greater or lesser extent. Aerobic glycolysis, together with the directly related metabolic pathways such as the tricarboxylic acid cycle, the pentose phosphate pathway, or gluconeogenesis are currently considered as therapeutic targets in cancer research. Melatonin has been reported to present numerous antitumor effects, which result in a reduced cell growth. This is achieved with both low and high concentrations with no relevant side effects. Indeed, high concentrations of this indolamine reduce proliferation of cancer types resistant to low concentrations and induce cell death in some types of tumors. Previous work suggest that regulation of glucose metabolism and other related pathways play an important role in the antitumoral effects of high concentration of melatonin. In the present review, we analyze recent work on the regulation by such concentrations of this indolamine on aerobic glycolysis, gluconeogenesis, the tricarboxylic acid cycle and the pentose phosphate pathways of cancer cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)27-40
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Cellular Physiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2021


  • TCA cycle
  • aerobic glycolysis
  • gluconeogenesis
  • melatonin cytotoxicity
  • pentose phosphate pathway
  • tumor metabolism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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