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Eur J Pharmacol. 2002 Apr 26;441(3):185-91.

Morphine analgesia suppresses tumor growth and metastasis in a mouse model of cancer pain produced by orthotopic tumor inoculation.

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Department of Applied Pharmacology, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Toyama Medical and Pharmaceutical University, 2630 Sugitani, Toyama 930-0194, Japan.


The present study was conducted to clarify whether relief from cancer pain by morphine would suppress tumor growth and metastasis. When given orthotopic inoculation of B16-BL6 melanoma cells into the hind paw, C57BL/6 mice showed moderate and marked hyperalgesia on days 7-10 and from day 14 post-inoculation, respectively. The volume of inoculated hind paw was increased exponentially as a function of time from day 8 post-inoculation, a phenomena being due to melanoma growth. Lung metastasis was apparent after day 12 post-inoculation. On day 16 post-inoculation, the hyperalgesia was completely inhibited by subcutaneous injection of morphine hydrochloride (5 and 10 mg/kg). The tumor growth and lung metastasis were markedly inhibited by repeated administration of morphine (5 and 10 mg/kg daily for 6 days) and also by the neurectomy of sciatic nerve innervating the inoculated region. The results suggest that relief from cancer pain by morphine inhibits tumor growth and metastasis.

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