Melatonin a Promising Candidate for DNA Double-Stranded Breaks Reduction in Patients Undergoing Abdomen-Pelvis Computed Tomography Examinations.


Eskandari A, Mahmoudzadeh A, Shirazi A, Esmaely F, Carnovale C, Cheki M




Anticancer Agents Med Chem. 2020 Mar 23.

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Background and Objective

Cancer incidence is 24% greater in children and young adults exposed to Computed Tomography (CT) scans than those unexposed. Non-repair of ionizing radiation-induced DNA double-Strand Breaks (DSBs) can initiate carcinogenesis. In the present study, we aimed to investigate the radioprotective potential of melatonin against DSBs in peripheral blood lymphocytes of patients undergoing the abdomen-pelvis CT examinations.


This double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial was conducted on thirty patients. These patients were divided into two groups; group one (control) patients who have undergone the CT examination received a single oral dose of placebo, while in group two, patients received a single oral dose of 100mg melatonin. In both groups, blood samples were collected 5-10min before and 30 minutes after the CT examination. The lymphocytes from these samples were isolated and DSBs were analyzed using γH2AX immunofluorescence microscopy.


Compared to the control group, the use of melatonin 1h before the CT examination caused a significant reduction in γH2AX-foci, indicating a reduction in DSBs. In addition, no side effect was observed in patients following 100mg melatonin administration.


For the first time, this study has shown that melatonin has protective effects against radiation-induced genotoxicity in peripheral blood lymphocytes of patients undergoing abdomen-pelvis CT examinations. Therefore, melatonin can be considered as a promising candidate for reducing DSBs in patients undergoing the abdomen-pelvis CT examinations.

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