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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014, Article ID 578137, 12 pages
Review Article

Can Melatonin Help Us in Radiation Oncology Treatments?

1Department of Medical Radiation Engineering, Tehran Science and Research Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran
2Department of Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering, Faculty of Medicine, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Keshavarz Boulevard, Poursina Avenue, Tehran, Iran
3Department of Medical Physics, Faculty of Medicine, Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
4Department of Radiology and Medical Physics, Faculty of Paramedicine, Kashan University of Medical Sciences, Kashan, Iran

Received 24 February 2014; Accepted 15 April 2014; Published 11 May 2014

Academic Editor: Michele Rechia Fighera

Copyright © 2014 Ehsan Mihandoost et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Nowadays, radiotherapy has become an integral part of the treatment regimen in various malignancies for curative or palliative purposes. Ionizing radiation interacts with biological systems to produce free radicals, which attack various cellular components. Radioprotectors act as prophylactic agents that are administered to shield normal cells and tissues from the harmful effects of radiation. Melatonin has been shown to be both a direct free radical scavenger and an indirect antioxidant by stimulating antioxidant enzymes and suppressing prooxidative enzymes activity. In addition to its antioxidant property, there have also been reports implicating antiapoptotic function for melatonin in normal cells. Furthermore, through its antitumor and radiosensitizing properties, treatment with melatonin may prevent tumor progression. Therefore, addition of melatonin to radiation therapy could lower the damage inflicted to the normal tissue, leading to a more efficient tumor control by use of higher doses of irradiation during radiotherapy. Thus, it seems that, in the future, melatonin may improve the therapeutic gain in radiation oncology treatments.