Riemersma-van der Lek RF, et al. Effect of bright light and melatonin on cognitive and noncognitive function in elderly residents of group care facilities: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA. Jun 11 2008;299(22):2642-2655.Because disturbances in circadian rhythm have been associated with reduced cognitive function in addition to behavioral and sleep alterations, the effects of bright light versus dim light with or without melatonin (2.5 mg daily) were analyzed in 189 elderly participants (mean age of 85.8 y) many of whom had dementia (87%) for an average of 15 months. Reduced depression (as measured using the Cornell Scale for Depression and Dementia) as well as decline in cognitive performance (as assessed by the Mini-Mental State Examination) and functional limitations were seen in the bright light only group whereas melatonin improved sleep latency and duration. However, melatonin negatively affected mood and behavior, which was reversed when combined with light. The authors conclude that for the elderly, melatonin should only be used in combination with bright light therapy.
Lissoni P, Chilelli M, Villa S, Cerizza L, Tancini G. Five years survival in metastatic non-small cell lung cancer patients treated with chemotherapy alone or chemotherapy and melatonin: a randomized trial. J Pineal Res. 2003 Aug;35(1):12-5.
100 patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) participated in a study of melatonin as an adjunct to chemotherapy treatment. Patients were randomly assigned to receive either chemotherapy alone (cisplatin and etoposide) or chemotherapy plus melatonin (20 mg/day in the evening seven days prior to chemotherapy). Patients receiving melatonin continued to take the herbal supplement after the completion of the four cycles of chemotherapy. No patients in the control group showed complete response after five years of followup, whereas, two patients in the chemotherapy plus melatonin group showed complete response. increased response rates (17% versus 35%) and decreased progressive disease rates were statistically significant. Furthermore, incidents of neurotoxicity, thrombocytopenia, weight loss greater than 10% and asthenia were significantly lower as well. Researchers suggest that the study demonstrates that melatonin is a safe and effective adjunct to chemotherapy for NSCLC.
Ghielmini M, et al. Double-blind randomized study on the myeloprotective effect of melatonin in combination with carboplatin and etoposide in advanced lung cancer. Br J Cancer 1999;80:1058-61.
A prospective, randomized, double-blind, cross-over design study evaluating the effect of 40 mg oral melatonin supplementation on hematologic indices. Twenty previously untreated patients with inoperable lung cancer (16 non-small-cell and 4 small-cell) received two cycles of carboplatin (AUC = 5, Calvert formula) on day 1 and 150mg/m2 IV etoposide on days 1-3 every 4 weeks. Melatonin or placebo was given once daily, initiated 2 days before chemotherapy and continued for 21 days. Patients were randomized to receive melatonin with either the first or the second cycle. Median age of the cohort was 60 years. Multivariate analysis including age, sex, diagnosis, stage, performance status, doses of carboplatin and etoposide, and concomitant treatment of melatonin or placebo, indicate no difference in hematological indices between treatment arms. No significant adverse effects related to melatonin were reported. Ghielmini et al. conclude that 40 mg oral melatonin does not improve hematologic status in lung cancer patients receiving carboplatin and etoposide.