Melatonin Cytotoxicity Is Associated to Warburg Effect Inhibition in Ewing Sarcoma Cells

Published on Wednesday, 26 August 2015


Melatonin kills or inhibits the proliferation of different cancer cell types, and this is associated with an increase or a decrease in reactive oxygen species, respectively. Intracellular oxidants originate mainly from oxidative metabolism, and cancer cells frequently show alterations in this metabolic pathway, such as the Warburg effect (aerobic glycolysis).

Thus, we hypothesized that melatonin could also regulate differentially oxidative metabolism in cells where it is cytotoxic (Ewing sarcoma cells) and in cells where it inhibits proliferation (chondrosarcoma cells).

Ewing sarcoma cells but not chondrosarcoma cells showed a metabolic profile consistent with aerobic glycolysis, i.e. increased glucose uptake, LDH activity, lactate production and HIF-1α activation.

Melatonin reversed Ewing sarcoma metabolic profile and this effect was associated with its cytotoxicity.

The differential regulation of metabolism by melatonin could explain why the hormone is harmless for a wide spectrum of normal and only a few tumoral cells, while it kills specific tumor cell types.



About this publication.


See also About Melatonin.