Melatonin as a potential inhibitory agent in head and neck cancer

Chia-Ming Yeh, Shih-Chi Su, Chiao-Wen Lin, Wei-En Yang, Ming-Hsien Chien, Russel J. Reiter _ and Shun-Fa Yang

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:90545-90556. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.20079

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Chia-Ming Yeh1,*, Shih-Chi Su2,*, Chiao-Wen Lin3,4, Wei-En Yang1,5, Ming-Hsien Chien6, Russel J. Reiter7 and Shun-Fa Yang1,5

1Institute of Medicine, Chung Shan Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan

2Whole-Genome Research Core Laboratory of Human Diseases, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Keelung, Taiwan

3Institute of Oral Sciences, Chung Shan Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan

4Department of Dentistry, Chung Shan Medical University Hospital, Taichung, Taiwan

5Department of Medical Research, Chung Shan Medical University Hospital, Taichung, Taiwan

6Graduate Institute of Clinical Medicine, Taipei Medical University, Taipei, Taiwan

7Department of Cellular and Structural Biology, The University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio, TX, USA

*These authors contributed equally to the work

Correspondence to:

Russel J. Reiter, email: [email protected]

Shun-Fa Yang, email: [email protected]

Keywords: melatonin, head and neck cancers, metastasis, matrix metalloproteinase

Received: June 06, 2017     Accepted: July 26, 2017     Published: August 09, 2017


Melatonin is a molecule secreted by the pineal gland; it is an important regulator of sleep and circadian rhythms. Through multiple interrelated mechanisms, melatonin exhibits various inhibitory properties at different stages of tumor progression. Many studies have explored the oncostatic effects of melatonin on hormone-dependent tumors. In this review, we highlight recent advances in understanding the effects of melatonin on the development of head and neck cancers, including molecular mechanisms identified through experimental and clinical observations. Because melatonin exerts a wide range of effects, melatonin may influence many mechanisms that influence the development of cancer. These include cell proliferation, apoptosis, angiogenesis, extracellular matrix remodeling through matrix metalloproteinases, and genetic polymorphism. Thus, the evidence discussed in this article will serve as a basis for basic and clinical research to promote the use of melatonin for understanding and controlling the development of head and neck cancers.

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