Non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is a type of malignancy with progressive metastasis having poor prognosis and lowered survival resulting from late diagnosis. The therapeutic approaches for the treatment of this incurable cancer are chemo- and radiotherapy.
Since current treatments are insufficient and because of drug-induced undesirable side effects and toxicities, alternate treatments are necessary and critical. The role of melatonin, produced in and released from the pineal gland, has been documented as a potential therapy for NSCLC. Melatonin prevents tumor metastasis via inducing apoptosis processes and restraining the autonomous cell proliferation. Moreover, melatonin inhibits the progression of tumors due to its oncostatic, pro-oxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. As a result, the combined treatment with melatonin and chemotherapy may have a synergistic effect, as with some other tumors, leading to a prolonged survival and improved quality of life in patients with NSCLC. This review summarizes the available data, based on the molecular mechanisms and related signaling pathways, to show how melatonin and its supplementation function in NSCLC.