Therapeutic actions of melatonin on gastrointestinal cancer development and progression
Melatonin exerts a multitude of physiological functions including the regulation of the sleep cycle and circadian rhythm. Although the synthesis of melatonin in the pineal gland is regulated by changes in the light/dark cycle, the release of melatonin in the gastrointestinal tract is related to food consumption. Melatonin regulates antioxidative processes and it improves T-helper cell response by stimulating the production of specific cytokines. Melatonin is directly involved in preventing tumor initiation, promotion, and progression in a variety of cancers of the gastrointestinal tract including colorectal cancer, cholangiocarcinoma, hepatocarcinoma, and pancreatic carcinoma. This paper is a review of the literature regarding melatonin in the gastrointestinal tract and as a potential therapy for gastrointestinal cancers.