Human hepatocellular carcinoma: Protection by melatonin
Despite great scientific breakthroughs toward understanding the identity of human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) mechanistically, there are still no clinically efficient therapeutic methods for this cancer. Melatonin (N‐acetyl‐5‐methoxytryptamine) is a multi‐tasking hormone that has long been known for its anti‐cancer activity against various human cancers including HCC, which is a focus of this review. PubMed database was searched for relevant articles with the keywords: hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), melatonin, apoptosis, proliferation, invasion, angiogenesis, autophagy, oxidative stress, tumor immunity, and mitogen‐activated protein kinase (MAPK) focusing on just human cell lines and English language articles. Melatonin inhibits apoptosis resistance and activates both extrinsic and intrinsic pathways of apoptosis in HCC. Melatonin induces ensoplasmic reticulum (ER)‐ and autophagy‐mediated apoptosis in cancer cells. Melatonin works against cancer cell proliferation, motility, and invasiveness by modulating actions of a variety of transcription factors and related pathways. Melatonin also relieves an immunosuppressive state in HCC cancer cells through making a control over tumor‐derived exosomes. Both pro‐and anti‐oxidative functions of melatonin are necessary for combating HCC. Combination of melatonin with chemotherapy could also provide cumulative effects on cancer cells. Melatonin exerts most of these roles by acting on the members of MAPK family.
angiogenesis . apoptosis . autophagy . COX‐2 . endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress . hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) . invasion . melatonin . mitochondria . mitogen‐activated protein kinase (MAPK) . proliferation.
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