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Endocrine, Metabolic & Immune Disorders - Drug Targets


ISSN (Print): 1871-5303
ISSN (Online): 2212-3873

Review Article

Circadian Rhythm and Concentration of Melatonin in Breast Cancer Patients

Author(s): Hanan Ahabrach, Nisrin El Mlili, Mohammed Errami and Omar Cauli*

Volume 21, Issue 10, 2021

Published on: 30 November, 2020

Page: [1869 - 1881] Pages: 13

DOI: 10.2174/1871530320666201201110807

Price: $65


Background: Melatonin is a biomarker of the central circadian clock and its chronobiotic actions entraining circadian rhythms to the light-dark cycle are well known. Reduction in melatonin levels and altered circadian rhythms have been associated with a high risk of breast cancer. Melatonin has also been shown to display anti-proliferative effects on breast cancer growth and proliferation. Evaluation of melatonin circadian rhythm alterations in patients bearing breast cancer may have interesting prognostic and therapeutic applications.

Objective: To review studies evaluating the circadian rhythm of melatonin in breast cancer patients. The effects of surgery and chemotherapy on melatonin secretion were also reviewed.

Methods: Electronic databases, including PubMed/MEDLINE and Scopus, were searched from their inception to May 2020, using the keywords "Melatonin", "Circadian rhythm" and "Breast cancer".

Results: Patients with breast cancer maintain a circadian rhythm of melatonin secretion with relatively high levels during the night and low levels during the day, however, a reduction in nocturnal melatonin peak and decreased amplitude of melatonin circadian rhythms in these patients have also been reported. Melatonin levels can influence estrogen receptor concentrations in hormone-dependent estrogen- positive breast cancer. Chemotherapy alters melatonin levels and breast surgery tends to alter melatonin secretion at first-day post-operation. Melatonin levels correlate with clinical and psychological symptoms of breast cancer, such as sleep quality and depression severity.

Conclusion: Circadian rhythm and the concentration of melatonin in the blood are altered in patients with breast cancers, and it can modify not only the sleep-wake cycle and, thus, patients’ quality of life but due to melatonin’s antioxidant effects, the effect of therapies can be modulated. Due to the heterogonous protocols used to assess melatonin and variable environmental factors during sampling, further studies need to control, such variables in order to tailor clinical trials based on melatonin rhythm adjustment and/or supplementation in breast cancer patients.

Keywords: Patients, breast cancer, circadian rhythm, melatonin, anti-proliferative effects, review.

Graphical Abstract

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