Cancer cells have some special features that give them the
ability to change and to resist different types of
treatments. These changes are produced by modifications
in the mitochondrial bioenergetics, that is, a switch in the
metabolism. These advantages consist in the so-called
Warburg effect. Cancer cells depend on glycolysis instead
of oxidative phosphorylation to get the energy necessary
to proliferate and to survive. Thus, a treatment against
this mechanism would control cancer spread. In normal
cells melatonin boosts the mitochondrial function and
scavenges oxygen radicals, protects them from oxidative
damage and increasing cell’s survival. As mitochondrion is
a therapeutic target in cancer cells, we wanted to know
how melatonin affects the mitochondria of these cells.

The results showed that melatonin induced a switch to
aerobic mitochondrial metabolism in cancer cells that
increased ROS production, reducing cell proliferation.
Melatonin also showed an oncostatic effect in vivo, with a
reduction in the tumor cell proliferation, and increasing
the apoptotic rate, with histological changes compaytble
with these changes. Concerning toxicity studies,
melatonin did not show any side effects in healthy mice

Mitochondrial changes induced by melatonin lead to a
metabolic switch in cancer cells inducing cellular dead but
doesn’t affect normal tissues