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J Pineal Res. 2003 Aug;35(1):12-5.

Five years survival in metastatic non-small cell lung cancer patients treated with chemotherapy alone or chemotherapy and melatonin: a randomized trial.

Author information

  • 1Divisione di Radioterapia Oncologica, Ospedale San Gerardo, Monza, Milan, Italy. p.lissoni@hsgerardo.org

Abstract

Numerous experimental data have documented the oncostatic properties of melatonin. In addition to its potential direct antitumor activity, melatonin has proved to modulate the effects of cancer chemotherapy, by enhancing its therapeutic efficacy and reducing its toxicity. The increase in chemotherapeutic efficacy by melatonin may depend on two main mechanisms, namely prevention of chemotherapy-induced lymphocyte damage and its antioxidant effect, which has been proved to amplify cytotoxic actions of the chemotherapeutic agents against cancer cells. However, the clinical results available at present with melatonin and chemotherapy in the treatment of human neoplasms are generally limited to the evaluation of 1-year survival in patients with very advanced disease. Thus, the present study was performed to assess the 5-year survival results in metastatic non-small cell lung cancer patients obtained with a chemotherapeutic regimen consisting of cisplatin and etoposide, with or without the concomitant administration of melatonin (20 mg/day orally in the evening). The study included 100 consecutive patients who were randomized to receive chemotherapy alone or chemotherapy and melatonin. Both the overall tumor regression rate and the 5-year survival results were significantly higher in patients concomitantly treated with melatonin. In particular, no patient treated with chemotherapy alone was alive after 2 years, whereas a 5-year survival was achieved in three of 49 (6%) patients treated with chemotherapy and melatonin. Moreover, chemotherapy was better tolerated in patients treated with melatonin. This study confirms, in a considerable number of patients and for a long follow-up period, the possibility to improve the efficacy of chemotherapy in terms of both survival and quality of life by a concomitant administration of melatonin. This suggests a new biochemotherapeutic strategy in the treatment of human neoplasms.

PMID:
12823608
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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