Circadian and non-circadian melatonin: influences on glucose metabolism in cancer cells


  • Russel J. Reiter Department of Cell Systems and Anatomy, UT Health San Antonio, Texas 78229, USA and Department of Molecular Genetics, University of Lodz, Lodz, 90-137 Łódź, Poland
  • Ramaswamy Sharma Department of Cell Systems and Anatomy, UT Health San Antonio, Texas 78229, USA
  • Qiang Ma Department of Cell Systems and Anatomy, UT Health San Antonio, Texas 78229, USA
  • Sergio Rosales-Corral Centro de Investigacion Biomedica de Occidente, Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social, Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico
  • Walter Manucha Departamento de Patología, Facultad de Ciencias Médicas, Universidad Nacional de Cuyo, Mendoza, Argentina


aerobic glycolysis, angiogenesis, cancer metastasis, glucose metabolism, Hypoxia inducible factor-1α, pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase


This review considers the role of melatonin as an oncostatic agent and particularly as to how it relates to the mechanisms by which melatonin regulates glucose metabolism in cancer cellsMany tumor cells adopt a means of glucose utilization that is different from that of healthy cellsThus, these cancer cells rapidly take up and metabolize glucose and after it is converted to pyruvate, they accelerate the production of lactate which is abundantly released into the circulationThe change in metabolism that cancer cells makes is referred to as aerobic glycolysisThe switch to aerobic glycolysis affords cancer cells major advantages in terms of an accelerated rate of ATP production and the synthesis of abundant molecular building blocks required for rapid proliferation, invasion, and metastasisIn normal cells, the bulk of the pyruvate formed is shunted into the mitochondria for conversion to acetyl-CoAMelatonin is both produced and released in a circadian manner from the pineal gland and likely by the mitochondria of all normal cells in a non-circadian mannerIn cancer cells, melatonin forces them to abandon aerobic glycolysis and function phenotypically as a normal cell by upregulating the enzyme, pyruvate dehydrogenase complex, that catalyzes pyruvate to acetyl-CoA; this is presumably achieved by the direct or indirect inhibition of pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase, which normally downregulates pyruvate dehydrogenase complexBy depriving cancer cells of aerobic glycolysis, melatonin reverts them to a normal cell phenotype thereby reducing the rapid cell proliferation and aggressive nature of cancer cells.


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How to Cite

Russel J. Reiter, Sharma, R. ., Qiang Ma, Sergio Rosales-Corral, & Manucha, W. . (2023). Circadian and non-circadian melatonin: influences on glucose metabolism in cancer cells. Journal of Current Science and Technology, 10(1), 85–98. Retrieved from



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