A Review of Chronic Stress and the Initiation and Evolution of Cancer

LIU Ming-xin, XIE Xue-mei, LI Qiang, XU Chuan


Chronic stress activates the typical neuroendocrine system, hypothalamus pituitary adrenal axis and sympathetic nervous system, and leads to a sustained non-specific adaptive response. It has been proved that chronic stress can promote tumor initiation and induce tumor evolution, especially in immune function and remodeling of tumor microenvironment. However, due to the complex mechanism of chronic stress and the great difference in individual tolerance, the research evidence of chronic stress in tumor genesis and progression is still unclear. Therefore, in this paper, we review the research on the relationship between chronic stress and tumor initiation and evolution, focusing on the molecular mechanism of chronic stress promoting tumor occurrence and development, inhibiting immune response and remodeling tumor immune microenvironment, and exploring the stress management program of healthy people and cancer patients, so as to provide clues for exploring new strategies of cancer prevention and treatment. In our opinion, targeting the cAMP/PKA/CREB signaling pathway to reverse tumor treatment strategy, the relationship between the tumor and stress, inflammation, immunity, the suppressor activity of β receptor antagonist and its mechanism as well as associated with different treatment options, still need to be further explored. A healthy lifestyle, positive life attitudes and professional stress management guidance are essential for the prevention and treatment of cancer.


 Keywords: Chronic stress, Tumor initiation, Immune function, Immune microenvironment, Stress management


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