Researchers have examined the potential benefits of melatonin, a hormone made by a small gland in the brain, for treating blood cancers such as leukemia and lymphoma. They point to evidence that melatonin boosts the immune response against cancer cells, inhibits cancer cell growth, and protects healthy cells from the toxic effects of chemotherapy.
Because melatonin is also involved in regulating circadian rhythms, which help coordinate and synchronize internal body functions, timing of melatonin treatments may be critical to their anticancer effects.
"We hope this information will be helpful in the design of studies related to the therapeutic efficacy of melatonin in blood cancers," said Dr. Yang Yang, senior author of the British Journal of Pharmacology article. "Also, clarifying the mechanisms of melatonin's anticancer actions will help facilitate future basic research and clinical applications."