Morphine: double-faced roles in the regulation of tumor development
Morphine, a highly potent analgesic, is one of the most effective drugs for the treatment of severe pain associated with cancer. It directly acts on the central nervous system to relieve pain, but also cause secondary complications, such as addiction, respiratory depression and constipation due to its activities on peripheral tissues. Besides pain relief, morphine is of great importance on cancer management with its effect on tumor development being the subject of debate for many years with some contradictory findings. Morphine has shown both tumor growth-promoting and growth-inhibiting effects in many published research studies. And various signaling pathways have been suggested to be involved in these effects of morphine. Based on a thorough literature review, we summarized the double-faced effects of morphine in tumor development, including tumor cell growth and apoptosis, metastasis, angiogenesis, immunomodulation and inflammation. And we attempted to optimize morphine administration in cancer patients to attenuate its tumor growth-promoting effects.
KeywordsMorphine Tumor Apoptosis Metastasis Angiogenesis Immunosuppression
The authors would like to thank to Professor Chu and Professor Liang for the instructions to this review.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.
Ethical approval This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.
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