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Semin Cancer Biol. 2013 Dec;23(6 Pt B):533-42. doi: 10.1016/j.semcancer.2013.08.009. Epub 2013 Sep 4.

β-Adrenergic system, a backstage manipulator regulating tumour progression and drug target in cancer therapy.

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Department of Anaesthesia, Nan Fang Hospital, Southern Medical University, Guangzhou, PR China.


β-Adrenoceptors are broadly distributed in various tissues of the body. Stress hormones regulate a panel of important physiological functions and disease states including cancer. Nicotine and its derivatives could stimulate the release of stress hormones from cancer cells, leading to the promotion of cancer development. β-Blockers have been widely used to control hypertension for decades. Recently, these agents could have significant implications in cancer therapy through blockade of adrenoceptors in tumour tissues. In this review, we summarize recent advancements about the influence of stress hormones, nicotine and β-adrenoceptors on cancer cell proliferation, apoptosis, invasion and metastasis, and also tumour vasculature normalization. Relevant signal pathways and potential value of β-blockers in the treatment of cancer are also discussed in this review.


4-(methylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanone; AC; AP1; Angiogenesis; BAD; BCL2-associated death protein; CREB; DR; EC; EPAC; FAK; GABA; GROα; HIF-1α; HRG; IL-6; MAPK; MMP; NF-κB; NNK; Nicotine; PDGF; PI3K; PKA; PVC; PlGF; STAT3; Stress hormones; TAM; TGF-β; Tumour progression; VEGF; activator protein 1; adenylyl cyclase; cAMP; cAMP response element binding protein; cyclic AMP; dopamine receptor; endothelial cells; exchange protein activated by adenylyl cyclase; focal adhesion kinase; growth-regulated oncogene alpha; histidine-rich glycoprotein; hypoxia-inducible factor-1; interleukin-6; matrix metalloproteinase; mitogen-activated protein kinase; nAChR; nicotinic acetylcholine receptors; nuclear factor-κB; p70S6 kinase; p70S6K; perivascular cell; phosphoinositide 3-kinase; placenta-derived growth factor; platelet-derived growth factor; protein kinase A; signal transducer and activator of transcription-3; transforming growth factor β; tumor associated macrophages; vascular endothelial growth factor; β-Adrenergic system; β-Adrenoceptors; β-Blockers; γ-aminobutyric acid

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