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Melatonin as an Antitumor Agent against Liver Cancer: An Updated Systematic Review

Institute of Biomedicine (IBIOMED), University of León, Campus of Vegazana s/n, 24071 León, Spain
Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red de Enfermedades Hepáticas y Digestivas (CIBERehd), Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Av. de Monforte de Lemos, 5, 28029 Madrid, Spain
Department of Cell Systems & Anatomy, UT Health San Antonio Long School of Medicine, San Antonio, TX 78229, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors shared senior authorship.
Antioxidants 2021, 10(1), 103;
Received: 21 December 2020 / Revised: 7 January 2021 / Accepted: 9 January 2021 / Published: 12 January 2021
Melatonin (N-acetyl-5-methoxytryptamine) is an indoleamine with antioxidant, chronobiotic and anti-inflammatory properties; reduced levels of this hormone are associated with higher risk of cancer. Several beneficial effects of melatonin have been described in a broad number of tumors, including liver cancers. In this work we systematically reviewed the publications of the last 15 years that assessed the underlying mechanisms of melatonin activities against liver cancers, and its role as coadjuvant in the treatment of these tumors. Literature research was performed employing PubMed, Scopus and Web of Science (WOS) databases and, after screening, 51 articles were included. Results from the selected studies denoted the useful actions of melatonin in preventing carcinogenesis and as a promising treatment option for the primary liver tumors hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and cholangiocarcinoma (CCA), either alone or in combination with other compounds. Different processes were modulated by the indole, such as inhibition of oxidative stress, proliferation, angiogenesis and invasion, promotion of immune system response, cell cycle arrest and apoptosis, as well as recovery of circadian rhythms and autophagy modulation. Taken together, the present systematic review highlights the evidence that document the potential role of melatonin in improving the landscape of liver tumor treatment. View Full-Text
Keywords: cholangiocarcinoma; hepatocellular carcinoma; liver cancer; melatonin cholangiocarcinoma; hepatocellular carcinoma; liver cancer; melatonin
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MDPI and ACS Style

Fernández-Palanca, P.; Méndez-Blanco, C.; Fondevila, F.; Tuñón, M.J.; Reiter, R.J.; Mauriz, J.L.; González-Gallego, J. Melatonin as an Antitumor Agent against Liver Cancer: An Updated Systematic Review. Antioxidants 2021, 10, 103.

AMA Style

Fernández-Palanca P, Méndez-Blanco C, Fondevila F, Tuñón MJ, Reiter RJ, Mauriz JL, González-Gallego J. Melatonin as an Antitumor Agent against Liver Cancer: An Updated Systematic Review. Antioxidants. 2021; 10(1):103.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Fernández-Palanca, Paula, Carolina Méndez-Blanco, Flavia Fondevila, María J. Tuñón, Russel J. Reiter, José L. Mauriz, and Javier González-Gallego. 2021. "Melatonin as an Antitumor Agent against Liver Cancer: An Updated Systematic Review" Antioxidants 10, no. 1: 103.

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