Try our beta test site
IMPORTANT: Listing of a study on this site does not reflect endorsement by the National Institutes of Health. Talk with a trusted healthcare professional before volunteering for a study. Read more...

Melatonin Versus Placebo in Breast Cancer

This study has been completed.
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Wendy Chen, MD, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute Identifier:
First received: March 4, 2013
Last updated: March 3, 2015
Last verified: February 2015
The purpose of this research study is to determine whether melatonin taken every night can affect blood levels of estrogen or IGF (insulin-growth factor levels). Both IGF and estrogen are normally produced in the body and may influence breast cancer risk. Melatonin is also naturally produced in the body. Laboratory studies have shown that melatonin may decrease cancer growth and influence estrogen and IGF levels. Melatonin's effects on sleep, hot flashes, and mood will also be measured.

Condition Intervention Phase
Breast Cancer
Drug: Melatonin 3 mg
Early Phase 1

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Double Blind (Participant, Care Provider, Investigator)
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: A Randomized Trial of Oral Melatonin Supplementation in Breast Cancer Survivors

Resource links provided by NLM:

Further study details as provided by Wendy Chen, MD, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute:

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • Absolute Plasma Estradiol Levels After 4 Month Course of Melatonin or Placebo [ Time Frame: 4 months ]
    Absolute plasma estradiol levels after 4 month course of melatonin or placebo, only 4 month level provided below.

  • Compliance [ Time Frame: 4 months ]
    To evaluate compliance with a 4 month course of melatonin. Compliance was assessed via pill counts.

Secondary Outcome Measures:
  • Change in Mood, Sleep Quality and Menopausal Symptoms From Baseline to 4 Months [ Time Frame: baseline and 4 months ]
    Mood was assessed by the Center for Epidemiologic studies Depression Scale. The scale measures depressive symptoms in 20 items. Each question has a 4 point answer (0-3) so the scale range is 0-60. A higher score indicates more depression. Sleep quality was assessed by the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index. There are 19 questions each with a 3 point answer. The questions are grouped into 7 subscales and each has a value from 0-3. The 7 subscales are then added together to yield a global score with a range of 0-21. Higher scores indicate worse sleep. Menopausal symptoms were assessed by NCCTG Hot Flash diary. Subjects track the number and severity of hot flashes daily for 1 week. Subjects grade the severity of the hot flashes on a scale of 1-4, with 1 being mild and 4 very severe. Frequency and the severity determine the score . The minimum score is 0 (no hot flashes) and there is no maximum score. A higher score indicates more severe hot flashes. There are no subscales or no units.

Enrollment: 95
Study Start Date: October 2006
Study Completion Date: July 2009
Primary Completion Date: July 2009 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Arms Assigned Interventions
Active Comparator: Melatonin 3 mg
Taken orally, once per day, at/around 9:00pm
Drug: Melatonin 3 mg
Melatonin vs. Placebo
Other Name: Melatonin
Placebo Comparator: Placebo
Taken orally, once per day, at/around 9:00pm
Drug: Melatonin 3 mg
Melatonin vs. Placebo
Other Name: Melatonin

Detailed Description:

If you agree to participate in this study you will be asked to undergo a blood test to find out if you are eligible. Approximately 2 tablespoons of blood will be drawn. The blood test will check your health and menopausal status. This test will aslo be used to help measure any additional effects of the study drug on your body. If you have had a blood test recently, it may or may not have to be repeated. If these tests show that you are eligible to participate in the research study, you will begin the study. If you do not meet the eligibility criteria, you will not be able to participate.

Because no one knows which of the study options is best, and all of the options are considered likely to work, you will be "randomized" into one of the study groups: melatonin or placebo.

Randomization means that you are put into a group by chance. It is like flipping a coin. Neither you nor the research doctor will choose what group you will be in. You will have an equal chance of being placed in either group. Neither you nor the research doctor will know what group you are in. You will not know the identity of your study treatment until after the final research analysis has taken place. Once this has happened, you will be mailed a letter from the principal research doctor telling you which study drug you received while on study.

You will be given a study drug and it will either contain melatonin or placebo (pills with no medical effect). You will take one tablet by mouth every night as close to 9:00 pm as possible. You should not make up missed doses. You will be given enough study drug to last 4 months. You will also be given a study medication-dosing calendar to write down times you took the study drug for each month you are taking the study drug.

Before taking the study drug, you will have blood tests to look at the level of estrogen and IGF in your blood. Approximately 2 tablespoons of blood will be drawn. At this visit, you will also be asked to complete a questionnaire that will take approximately 15 minutes.

A member of the research study staff will check in by telephone once a month to monitor your experiences on the research study. You may also contact a member of the research study staff at any time if you have any questions or concerns.

You should tell your research doctor if you are currently taking black cohosh, flaxseed or soy in pill or supplement form, as it may affect your participation in this research study.

After you have completed approximately 4 months of study drug, you will return to clinic to see a member of the research study staff. At this visit you will have the following tests and procedures: You will have blood tests to look at the level of estrogen and IGF in your blood. Approximately 2 tablespoons of blood will be drawn. You must return your study medication-dosing calendar and all of your pill bottles at the end of the research study to a member of the research study staff. You wil also be asked to complete a questionnaire that will take about 15 minutes.


Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years and older   (Adult, Senior)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   Female
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria:

  • History of ductal carcinoma in situ, lobular carcinoma in situ or stages 1-3 breast cancer
  • Not currently receiving chemotherapy or hormonal therapy
  • Postmenopausal

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Stage IV breast cancer or systemic recurrences
  • Prior malignancies of any type other than breast cancer, basal or squamous cell carcinoma of the skin or carcinoma in situ of the cervix
  • Use of adjuvant hormonal therapy, oral estrogen or progesterone replacement therapy, lutenizing hormone releasing hormone agonists currently or within the past 60 days
  • Concomitant use of beta-blockers
  • Concomitant nightly use of sleep aids at bedtime
  • Working more than one overnight shift per month on a regular basis
  • Concomitant use of postmenopausal hormone replacement therapy
  • Concomitant use of black cohosh, flaxseed or soy in pill or supplement form
  • Use of any type of oral melatonin supplementation within the past 30 days
  • Use of warfarin (coumadin) within the past 30 days
  • Active seizure disorder requiring the use of daily anti-epileptic medication
  Contacts and Locations
Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the Contacts provided below. For general information, see Learn About Clinical Studies.

Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT01805089

United States, Massachusetts
Brigham and Women's Hospital
Boston, Massachusetts, United States, 02215
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Boston, Massachusetts, United States, 02215
Sponsors and Collaborators
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Principal Investigator: Wendy Chen, MD Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
  More Information

Responsible Party: Wendy Chen, MD, Principal Investigator, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute Identifier: NCT01805089     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: 05-305
Study First Received: March 4, 2013
Results First Received: April 30, 2014
Last Updated: March 3, 2015

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Breast Neoplasms
Neoplasms by Site
Breast Diseases
Skin Diseases
Molecular Mechanisms of Pharmacological Action
Protective Agents
Physiological Effects of Drugs
Central Nervous System Depressants processed this record on May 25, 2017