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Oncol Rep. 2005 Dec;14(6):1593-7.

The role of serotonin in tumour growth (review).

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Department of Surgery, Royal Free Hospital and University College Medical School, University College London, Pond Street, Hampstead, London NW3 2QG, UK.


Serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine; 5HT) a monoamine neurotransmitter mediates a wide range of physiological actions in the human body. For example 5HT is implicated in psychiatric and neurological disorders and also plays a fundamental role in tumour growth, differentiation and gene expression. 5HT acts as a growth factor for several types of tumoural and non-tumoural cells. This review considers the role of 5HT and its receptors in the human body with particular reference to carcinogenesis. We conclude that 5HT causes growth proliferation and 5HT antagonists cause growth inhibition in a variety of tumour cells (e.g. prostate carcinoma, lung carcinoma and colonic carcinoma). Therefore, further studies should look into the potential use of 5HT antagonists in the treatment of cancer.

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