Melatonin uptake through glucose transporters: a new target for melatonin inhibition of cancer

Published on Tuesday, 13 December 2016


Melatonin is present in a multitude of taxa and it has a broad range of biological functions, from synchronizing circadian rhythms to detoxifying free radicals. Some functions of melatonin are mediated by its membrane receptors but others are receptor-independent. For the latter, melatonin must enter into the cell.

Melatonin is a derivative of the amino acid tryptophan and reportedly easily crosses biological membranes due to its amphipathic nature. However, the mechanism by which melatonin enters into cells remains unknown. Changes in redox state, endocytosis pathways, multidrug resistance, glycoproteins or a variety of strategies have no effect on melatonin uptake.

Herein, it is demonstrated that members of the SLC2/GLUT family glucose transporters have a central role in melatonin uptake. When studied by docking simulation, it is found that melatonin interacts at the same location in GLUT1 where glucose does.

Furthermore, glucose concentration and the presence of competitive ligands of GLUT1 affect the concentration of melatonin into cells.

As a regulatory mechanism, melatonin reduces the uptake of glucose and modifies the expression of GLUT1 transporter in prostate cancer cells.

More importantly, glucose supplementation promotes prostate cancer progression in TRAMP mice, while melatonin attenuated glucose-induced tumor progression and prolonged the lifespan of tumor-bearing mice. This is the first time that a facilitated transport of melatonin is suggested.

In fact, the important role of glucose transporters and glucose metabolism in cell fate might explain some of the diverse functions described for melatonin.



About this publication.

- Evaluation of the safety and efficacy of the first-line treatment with somatostatin combined with melatonisn, retinoids, vitamin D3, and low doses of cyclophosphamide in 20 cases of breast cancer: a preliminary report;

- The Di Bella Method (DBM) improved survival, objective response and performance status in a retrospective observational clinical study on 122 cases of breast cancer;

- Complete objective response to biological therapy of plurifocal breast carcinoma;

- Recurrent Glioblastoma Multiforme (grade IV – WHO 2007): a case of complete objective response achieved by means of the concomitant administration of Somatostatin and Octreotide – Retinoids – Vitamin E – Vitamin D3 – Vitamin C – Melatonin – D2 R agonists (Di Bella Method – DBM) associated with Temozolomide;

- The Di Bella Method (DBM) in the treatment of prostate cancer: a preliminary retrospective study of 16 patients and a review of the literature.