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Biophys Rev. 2017 Apr;9(2):139-148. doi: 10.1007/s12551-017-0256-8. Epub 2017 Mar 27.

The melatonin immunomodulatory actions in radiotherapy.

Author information

1
Department of Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering, Faculty of Medicine, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.
2
Department of Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering, Faculty of Medicine, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran. shirazia@sina.tums.ac.ir.
3
Department of Molecular Medicine, School of Advanced Technologies in Medicine, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran. e_motevaseli@tums.ac.ir.
4
Department of Medical Radiation Engineering, Science and Research Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran.
5
Department of Radiology, Faculty of Paramedical, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.

Abstract

Radiotherapy has a key role in cancer treatment in more than half of patients with cancer. The management of severe side effects of this treatment modality is a limiting factor to appropriate treatment. Immune system responses play a pivotal role in many of the early and late side effects of radiation. Moreover, immune cells have a significant role in tumor response to radiotherapy, such as angiogenesis and tumor growth. Melatonin as a potent antioxidant has shown appropriate immune regulatory properties that may ameliorate toxicity induced by radiation in various organs. These effects are mediated through various modulatory effects of melatonin in different levels of tissue reaction to ionizing radiation. The effects on the DNA repair system, antioxidant enzymes, immune cells, cytokines secretion, transcription factors, and protein kinases are most important. Moreover, anti-cancer properties of melatonin may increase the therapeutic ratio of radiotherapy. Clinical applications of this agent for the management of malignancies such as breast cancer have shown promising results. It seems anti-proliferative, anti-angiogenesis, and stimulation or suppression of some immune cell responses are the main anti-tumor effects of melatonin that may help to improve response of the tumor to radiotherapy. In this review, the effects of melatonin on the modulation of immune responses in both normal and tumor tissues will be discussed.

KEYWORDS:

Cancer; Immune system; Melatonin; Radiation; Radiotherapy

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