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Eur J Cancer. 1999 Oct;35(11):1603-7.

Psychoneuroimmunology and cancer: fact or fiction?

Author information

1
Department of Psychiatry, Ohio State University College of Medicine, Columbus 43210, USA. kiecolt-glaser.1@osu.edu

Abstract

There is substantial evidence from both healthy populations as well as individuals with cancer linking psychological stress with immune downregulation. This discussion highlights natural killer (NK) cells, because of the role that they may play in malignant disease. In addition, distress or depression is also associated with two important processes for carcinogenesis: poorer repair of damaged DNA, and alterations in apoptosis. Conversely, the possibility that psychological interventions may enhance immune function and survival among cancer patients clearly merits further exploration, as does the evidence suggesting that social support may be a key psychological mediator. These studies and others suggest that psychological or behavioural factors may influence the incidence or progression of cancer through psychosocial influences on immune function and other physiological pathways.

PMID:
10673969
DOI:
10.1016/s0959-8049(99)00197-5
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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