Melatonin induces the apoptosis and inhibits the proliferation of human gastric cancer cells via blockade of the AKT/MDM2 pathway

Published on Wednesday, 28 March 2018


Globally, gastric cancer (GC) is one of the most common types of cancer and the third leading cause of cancer‑related death. In China, gastric and liver cancers have the highest mortality rates.

Melatonin, also known as N-acetyl‑5-methoxytryptamine, is a hormone that is produced by the pineal gland in animals and regulates sleep and wakefulness.

Melatonin has been shown to inhibit various carcinomas, including GC. There are many different hypotheses to explain the anticancer effects of melatonin, including stimulation of apoptosis, inhibition of cell growth, regulation of anticancer immunity, induction of free-radical scavenging, and the competitive inhibition of estrogen. However, the underlying mechanism by which these effects are elicited remains elusive.

The aim of the present study was to investigate the effects of melatonin on human GC cells and determine the underlying molecular mechanism.

We treated SGC-7901 GC cells with melatonin and analyzed the resulting protein changes using protein chip technology. Several proteins related to cell apoptosis and proliferation were identified and further tested in SGC-7901 GC cells.

We found that melatonin induced cell cycle arrest and the downregulation of CDC25A, phospho-CDC25A (at Ser75), p21 (p21Cip1/p21Waf1) and phospho-p21 (at Thr145).

Melatonin also induced upregulation of Bax, downregulation of Bcl-xL, an increase in cleaved caspase-9 level and activation of caspase-3, which confirmed the involvement of the mitochondria in melatonin‑induced apoptosis. Upstream regulators of the above proteins, MDM2, phospho-MDM2 (at Ser166) and AKT, phospho-AKT (at Thr308) were all attenuated by melatonin, which led to an increase in p53.

The present study demonstrated that the oncostatic effects of melatonin on SGC-7901 GC cells are mediated via the blockade of the AKT/MDM2 intracellular pathway.


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See also:

- About Melatonin;

- The Di Bella Method (A Fixed Part - Melatonin tablets);

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- 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;

- 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;

- 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.