Researchers Y.M. Wang and colleagues from the First Affiliated Hospital of Xinxiang Medical University in Henan Province, China conducted a review of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) on the use of melatonin with chemo or radiotherapy in patients with solid tumors. Seven hundred and sixty one patients from eight RCTs were included in this study, and 20 mg per day of melatonin was used by the patients.
The results of this review, published in the journal Cancer Chemotherapy and Pharmacology,
showed that melatonin significantly improved remission (partial and complete), and the 1-year survival rate. Chemotherapy and radiotherapy usually causes fatigue and a lowered count of important blood cells such as thrombocytes, required for clotting, but melatonin also reduced these side effects.
Another new review on melatonin and breast cancer was also published in the journal Expert Opinion on Investigational Drugs
, by Emilio J Sanchez-Barcelo and colleagues from the University of Cantabria, Spain, and from the University of Texas Health Science Center. Researches stated that because of melatonin’s effects on the estrogen receptor and on estrogen enzymes, it can be used as an enhancer of drugs used for breast cancer prevention. Melatonin’s antioxidant effects could also be used to reduce chemo and radiotherapy’s generation of oxidative stress, and to mitigate their side effects.
Melatonin can help prevent and treat cancer by several mechanisms
, including immune system stimulation, and because of its effects on apoptosis. When we’re exposed to light at night, melatonin secretion is reduced, and this could be a cause of the high rate of cancers among night shift workers.
Avoid melatonin before surgery and if you have autoimmune diseases. Melatonin can cause serious side effects, especially if you already have medical conditions. But it does have beneficial anticancer effects, so speak with your oncologist to verify if it can be used to treat you, and always tell your doctor of any supplement you use.