Melatonin Enhances Cisplatin and Radiation Cytotoxicity in Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma by Stimulating Mitochondrial ROS Generation, Apoptosis, and Autophagy

Published on Friday, 05 April 2019


Head and neck cancer is the sixth leading cancer by incidence worldwide. Unfortunately, drug resistance and relapse are the principal limitations of clinical oncology for many patients, and the failure of conventional treatments is an extremely demoralizing experience.

It is therefore crucial to find new therapeutic targets and drugs to enhance the cytotoxic effects of conventional treatments without potentiating or offsetting the adverse effects.

Melatonin has oncostatic effects, although the mechanisms involved and doses required remain unclear.

The purpose of this study is to determine the precise underlying mitochondrial mechanisms of melatonin, which increase the cytotoxicity of oncological treatments, and also to propose new melatonin treatments in order to alleviate and reverse radio- and chemoresistant processes.

We analyzed the effects of melatonin on head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) cell lines (Cal-27 and SCC-9), which were treated with 0.1, 0.5, 1, and 1.5 mM melatonin combined with 8 Gy irradiation or 10 μM cisplatin.

Clonogenic and MTT assays, as well as autophagy and apoptosis, involving flow cytometry and western blot, were performed in order to determine the cytotoxic effects of the treatments. Mitochondrial function was evaluated by measuring mitochondrial respiration, mtDNA content (RT-PCR), and mitochondrial mass (NAO). ROS production, antioxidant enzyme activity, and GSH/GSSG levels were analyzed using a fluorometric method.

We show that high concentrations of melatonin potentiate the cytotoxic effects of radiotherapy and CDDP in HNSCC, which are associated with increased mitochondrial function in these cells.

In HNSCC, melatonin induces intracellular ROS, whose accumulation plays an upstream role in mitochondria-mediated apoptosis and autophagy.

Our findings indicate that melatonin, at high concentrations, combined with cisplatin and radiotherapy to improve its effectiveness, is a potential adjuvant agent.


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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 (A Fixed Part - Cyclophosphamide 50mg tablets and/or Hydroxyurea 500mg tablets, one or two per day);

- 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;

- 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 Synergism of Somatostatin, Melatonin, Vitamins Prolactin and Estrogen Inhibitors Increased Survival, Objective Response and Performance Status In 297 Cases of Breast Cancer;

- 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;

- 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;

- Pleural Mesothelioma: clinical records on 11 patients treated with Di Bella's Method;

- Malignant pleural mesothelioma, stage T3-T4. Consideration of a case study;

- Excellent result in a Mesothelioma case treated exclusively with Di Bella Method for over 4 years and still treatment with positive results;

- Neuroblastoma: Complete objective response to biological treatment;

- Oesophageal squamocellular carcinoma: a complete and objective response;

- 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.