Studies have shown that despite the decreasing mortality rates of kidney cancer patients, its incidence is increasing. Therefore, a comprehensive re-evaluation of treatment options is necessary to provide appropriate treatments for the increasing number of patients. Moreover, the side effects caused by surgery, which is the main treatment of this disease, may lead to higher morbidity rates. Consequently, new safer approaches must be examined and considered. Major advancements have been made in the field of targeted agents as well as treatments based on immunotherapy since renal cell carcinoma (RCC) does not respond well to chemotherapy. While the therapeutic options for this cancer are increasing, the resulting complexity of selecting the best strategy for treating the patients is daunting. Moreover, each therapeutic option must be evaluated concerning toxicity, cost, and clinical advantages. Several characteristics, which are beneficial for cancer therapies have been attributed to melatonin. For decades, investigations have explored the application of melatonin in the treatment of cancer; insufficient attention has been paid to this molecule at the clinical level. Melatonin plays a role in cancer therapy due to its anti-tumor effects as well as by enhancing the efficacy of other drugs as an adjuvant. In this review, we discuss different roles of melatonin in the treatment of kidney cancer. The studies concerned with the applications of melatonin as an adjuvant in the immunotherapy of patients with kidney cancer are summarized. Also, we highlight the apoptotic and anti-angiogenic effects of melatonin on renal cancer cells which are mediated by different molecules (e.g., HIF-1 and VEGF, ADAMTS1, and MMP-9) and signaling pathways (e.g., P56, P52, and JNK). Furthermore, we take a look into available data on melatonin’s ability to reduce the toxicities caused by kidney carcinogens, including ochratoxin A, potassium bromate, and Fe-NTA.
© 2020 International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.