Combination of melatonin and rapamycin for head and neck cancer therapy: Suppression of AKT/mTOR pathway activation, and activation of mitophagy and apoptosis via mitochondrial function regulation

Published on Thursday, 15 February 2018


Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) clearly involves activation of the Akt mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signalling pathway.

However, the effectiveness of treatment with the mTOR inhibitor rapamycin is often limited by chemoresistance.

Melatonin suppresses neoplastic growth via different mechanisms in a variety of tumours.

n this study, we aimed to elucidate the effects of melatonin on rapamycin-induced HNSCC cell death and to identify potential cross-talk pathways. We analysed the dose-dependent effects of melatonin in rapamycin-treated HNSCC cell lines (Cal-27 and SCC-9).

These cells were treated with 0.1, 0.5 or 1 mmol/L melatonin combined with 20 nM rapamycin. We further examined the potential synergistic effects of melatonin with rapamycin in Cal-27 xenograft mice.

Relationships between inhibition of the mTOR pathway, reactive oxygen species (ROS), and apoptosis and mitophagy reportedly increased the cytotoxic effects of rapamycin in HNSCC.

Our results demonstrated that combined treatment with rapamycin and melatonin blocked the negative feedback loop from the specific downstream effector of mTOR activation S6K1 to Akt signalling, which decreased cell viability, proliferation and clonogenic capacity. Interestingly, combined treatment with rapamycin and melatonin-induced changes in mitochondrial function, which were associated with increased ROS production, increasing apoptosis and mitophagy. This led to increase cell death and cellular differentiation.

Our data further indicated that melatonin administration reduced rapamycin-associated toxicity to healthy cells.

Overall, our findings suggested that melatonin could be used as an adjuvant agent with rapamycin, improving effectiveness while minimizing its side effects.


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See also:

- Official Web Site: The Di Bella Method;

- The Di Bella Method (A Fixed Part - Melatonin tablets. From 30-40mg/day up to 200mg/day orally in patients with advanced stage of cancer disease and/or patients without respond to traditional treatments);

- Melatonin with adenosine solubilized in water and stabilized with glycine for oncological treatment - technical preparation, effectivity and clinical findings;

- About Melatonin - In vitro, review and in vivo publications;

- The Di Bella Method DBM improved survival objective response and performance status in a retrospective observational clinical study on 23 tumours of the head and neck;

- Congenital fibrosarcoma in complete remission with Somatostatin, Retinoids, Vitamin D3, Vitamin E, Vitamin C, Melatonin, Calcium, Chondroitin sulfate associated with low doses of Cyclophosphamide in a 14-year Follow Up;

- Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma: clinical records on 17 patients treated with Di Bella's Method;

- The Di Bella Method Increases by the 30% the survival rate for Pancreas tumors and for this reason should be proposed as first line therapy for this type of cancer;

- Somatostatin, retinoids, melatonin, vitamin D, bromocriptine, and cyclophosphamide in advanced non-small-cell lung cancer patients with low performance status;

- Somatostatin, retinoids, melatonin, vitamin D, bromocriptine, and cyclophosphamide in chemotherapy-pretreated patients with advanced lung adenocarcinoma and low performance status;

- Observations on the Report of a case of pulmonary adenocarcinoma with lymph node, hepatic and osseus metastasis;

- Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia: Long-Lasting Remission with Combination of Cyclophosphamide, Somatostatin, Bromocriptine, Retinoids, Melatonin, and ACTH;

- Complete objective response, stable for 5 years, with the Di Bella Method, of multiple-metastatic carcinoma of the breast;

- Evaluation of the safety and efficacy of the first-line treatment with somatostatin combined with melatonin, 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.