Circadian variation of immune mechanisms in lung cancer and the role of melatonin

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


New cancer immunotherapeutic strategies rely on recent advances in the knowledge of the mechanisms responsible for antitumor immunity. Immune parameters in humans show temporal variations related to circadian changes of total lymphocytes and specific lymphocyte subsets in the peripheral blood, with an inverse relationship of the total number of lymphocytes to plasma cortisol concentration and a direct correlation to plasma melatonin levels. Immune responses are characterized by nyctohemeral variations and are physiologically controlled by neuroendocrine pathways. The discoveries of the antitumor cytokine network underlay innovative anticancer immunotherapeutic approach, taking into account neuroendocrine and neuroimmune status of cancer patients. Lung cancer patients present anomalies of proportions and circadian variations of lymphocyte subsets, as well as of hormones and cytokines that may impair the interplay among different lymphocyte subpopulations and neuroendocrine system components, decisive for an efficient immune response. A chronobiologic strategy of correctly timed circadian stage-dependent sampling and/or dosing schedule taking in consideration circadian rhythmicity in biochemical, physiological, and behavioral processes will be critical in any attempts to successfully optimize and personalize decision-making when evaluating immunomodulatory effects determined by biological response modifiers and adoptive immunotherapy protocols, in addition to neuroendocrine endogenous molecules, such as the pineal indole melatonin.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMelatonin and Melatonergic Drugs in Clinical Practice
PublisherSpringer India
Number of pages12
ISBN (Print)9788132208259, 8132208242, 9788132208242
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2014


  • Chronobiology
  • Circadian rhythmicity
  • Immune system
  • Lung cancer
  • Melatonin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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