Melatonin and Cancer

There is ample evidence of melatonin's cancer-fighting ability, although it is not yet widely used as a therapy. We should note that melatonin by itself is not a treatment for cancer and is only effective in combination with traditional therapies.

Melatonin is a strong antioxidant, and unlike other antioxidants it does not promote the formation of free radicals. In addition, there is evidence it acts as a cancer killer.

Several studies have been done showing that it actually kills cancer cells. Generally this is seen in combination with traditional medical therapy, so it should not be thought of as a replacement but only a booster.

But the action by which this happens isn't clear. Despite the proliferation of controlled studies, it is not yet known if this cancer-killing property is a direct action by the melatonin or an indirect effect.

Regardless, there is no doubt that melatonin has shown promising results in pairings with regular cancer treatment, and adding this to your treatment regimin is something that should be considered. It is a strong and more effective antioxidant than most, despite the fact that the jury is still out on the exact mechanism by which melatonin kills the cancer cells.

The long-term effects of melatonin are unknown, so caution should be exercised in taking this supplement along with any cancer therapy. Your doctor should be consulted if you are interested in trying it out for this purpose, although we do recommend it for the purposes of jet lag and insomnia.


Biol Signals Recept. 2000 May-Aug;9(3-4):137-59

Current Topics in Medicinal Chemistry, Volume 2, Number 2, 1 February 2002, pp. 113-132(20)

J Neural Transm Suppl. 1986;21:433-49