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The neurotransmitter/receptor system has been shown to modulate various aspects of tumor development including cell proliferation, angiogenesis, invasion, migration and metastasis. It has been found that tumor tissues can not only synthesize and release a wide range of neurotransmitters but also produce different biological effects via respective receptors. These tissues are also innervated by nerve fibers but the biological significance is unknown. Nevertheless neurotransmitters can produce either stimulatory or inhibitory effect in normal and tumor tissues. These effects are dependent on the types of tissues and the kinds of neurotransmitter as well as the subtypes of corresponding receptors being involved. These findings clearly extend the conventional role of neurotransmitters in nervous system to the actions in oncogenesis. In this regard, intervention or stimulation of these neuronal pathways in different cancer diseases would have significant clinical implications in cancer treatments. Here, we summarize the influences of various well-characterized neurotransmitters and their receptors on tumor growth and further discuss the respective possible strategies and perspectives for cancer therapy in the future. Copyright © 2011. Published by Elsevier B.V.


Zhi Jie Li, Chi Hin Cho. Neurotransmitters, more than meets the eye--neurotransmitters and their perspectives in cancer development and therapy. European journal of pharmacology. 2011 Sep 30;667(1-3):17-22

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PMID: 21664902

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