Melatonin in squamous cell lung carcinoma? - 1245365

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didi85
Melatonin in squamous cell lung carcinoma? - 1245365

Hello,

My father was diagnosed with stage IIIB NSCLC (squamous) in May 2012.

The results of his first CT after the second rounds of chemo were quite good: fifty percent shrinkage in the primary tumor and all the lymph nodes disappeared.

With the approval of his doctor, I would like to start him on a few supplements, one of them being melatonin. He has difficulty falling asleep and takes 25 mg Desyrel (Trazodone) at night. So, melatonin could help with sleeping as well.

However, I have come across this article that says that melatonin has anti-angiogenic abilities on cancer patients.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11335879

As far as I know, anti-angiogenic drug Avastin is not used in squamous cell LC patients due to risk of bleeding.

I have limited medical knowledge, but do you think that melatonin is dangerous in squamous cell lung cancer patients due to its anti-angiogenic activity?

Thank you so much,

Dilay

JimC
Reply To: Melatonin in squamous cell lung carcinoma?

Hi Dilay,

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Dr West
Reply To: Melatonin in squamous cell lung carcinoma?

There are many medications that have some evidence of anti-angiogenic activity, but that is really different from showing the kind of responses that we see in patients with squamous NSCLC who receive Avastin (bevacizumab). I personally wouldn't consider the rather speculative results of a trial in 20 people receiving a very high dose of melatonin (3-5 mg would be more typical) to offer a level of evidence that would change our clinical recommendations. This is far, far, far less evidence than exists to recommend against giving Avastin to someone with a squamous NSCLC tumor.

-Dr. West

+++++++++++++++++++++++++
Dr. Howard (Jack) West
Associate Clinical Professor
Medical Oncology
City of Hope Cancer Center
Duarte, CA

Founder & President
Global Resource for Advancing
Cancer Education

didi85
Reply To: Melatonin in squamous cell lung carcinoma?

Dear Dr. West,

Thank you very much for your reply.

My father's oncologist knows nothing about melatonin's usage in cancer treatment and he says "you can take it but it could increase the toxicity." I have read elsewhere that melatonin is quite safe and it is one of the least toxic substances known.

My father is on Cisplatin/Gemzar and he has tolerated it quite well so far.

Do you think that melatonin is safe in my father's case? We want to start with 5mg and increase the dose up to 20 mg.

I will present your answer to his doctor, not going to make a decision by myself.

Thank you,

Dilay

catdander
Reply To: Melatonin in squamous cell lung carcinoma?

Below is the cancer treatment comment on melatonin from Mayo Clinic's extensive "Drugs and Supplements" section of their website.

There are several sections to the article on melatonin that can be accessed through links to the left of the page I linked to. This comes from the "Evidence" section.

"Cancer treatment

There are several early-phase and controlled human trials of melatonin in patients with various advanced-stage malignancies, including brain, breast, colorectal, gastric, liver, lung, pancreatic, and testicular cancers, as well as lymphoma, melanoma, renal cell carcinoma, and soft-tissue sarcoma. Currently, no clear conclusion can be drawn in this area. There is not enough definitive scientific evidence to discern if melatonin is beneficial against any type of cancer, whether it increases (or decreases) the effectiveness of other cancer therapies, or if it safely reduces chemotherapy side effects."

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/melatonin/NS_patient-melatonin

I'm sorry Dilay but our doctors can't make such suggestions online especially when the evidence is so inconclusive. I'm afraid it's something you, your father, and his oncologist will need to decide. Also if he has access to an oncology pharmacist would be helpful in determining safe amounts.

On a personal note I wish there were more natural products that we had hard evidence on how to use safely to help ease and extend the life of those with cancer.

Good luck in your search,
Janine

Dr West
Reply To: Melatonin in squamous cell lung carcinoma?

Janine is certainly right here. We want to provide discussion of the areas in which there is evidence to guide us, but we aren't here make recommendations for people who aren't our patients or to lobby for treatments that have no established role. Even if I am comfortable with recommending melatonin at a dose of 3 mg to help my patients with insomnia sleep better, this doesn't mean that I would favor it at a far higher dose, intended as an anti-cancer therapy.

-Dr. West

+++++++++++++++++++++++++
Dr. Howard (Jack) West
Associate Clinical Professor
Medical Oncology
City of Hope Cancer Center
Duarte, CA

Founder & President
Global Resource for Advancing
Cancer Education