In a Personal View article, published in The Lancet Oncology Katarina Ondicova and Boris Mravec address a timely topic of growing interest, the role of the nervous system or the neurobiology of cancer etiopathogenesis.
More recent research indicates that the involvement of the nervous system in cancer etiopathogenesis is supported by several observations: tumor tissue is innervated, neurotransmitters affect tumor growth and development of metastases, and altered activity of the nervous system influences tumor cell proliferation.
In the The Lancet Oncology article the authors argue that the neurobiological view of the etiopathogenesis of cancer suggests that the humoral and neural pathways convey information from tumor tissues to the brain, and that the brain then modulates primary tumor and metastatic growth through neuroendocrine-immune systems.
As per Ondicova and Mravec, based on the neurobiological view, cancer can be seen as a process that overcomes not only the protective mechanisms of the immune system, but also the protective influences of the nervous system.
The authors discuss the application of a neurobiological view of cancer etiopathogenesis for development of new cancer treatments, better understanding of the beneficial effects of currently used approaches, and development of new diagnostic tools to detect cancer.