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Papers of the Week

2023 Feb 03

Mol Brain



Cancer aggravation due to persistent pain signals with the increased expression of pain-related mediators in sensory neurons of tumor-bearing mice.


Tanaka K, Kondo T, Narita M, Muta T, Yoshida S, Sato D, Suda Y, Hamada Y, Shimizu T, Kuzumaki N, Narita M
Mol Brain. 2023 Feb 03; 16(1):19.
PMID: 36737827.


A growing body of evidence suggests that intractable pain reduces both the quality of life and survival in cancer patients. In the present study, we evaluated whether chronic pain stimuli could directly affect cancer pathology using tumor-bearing mice. For this purpose, we used two different models of chronic pain in mice, neuropathic pain and persistent postsurgical pain, with Lewis lung carcinoma (LLC) as tumor cells. We found that tumor growth was dramatically promoted in these pain models. As well as these pain models, tumor growth of LLC, severe osteosarcoma (AXT) and B16 melanoma cells was significantly promoted by concomitant activation of sensory neurons in AAV6-hM3Dq-injected mice treated with the designer drug clozapine-N-oxide (CNO). Significant increases in mRNA levels of vascular endothelial growth factor-A (Vegfa), tachykinin precursor 1 (Tac1) and calcitonin-related polypeptide alpha (Calca) in the ipsilateral side of dorsal root ganglion of AAV6-hM3Dq-injected mice were observed by concomitant activation of sensory neurons due to CNO administration. Moreover, in a model of bone cancer pain in which mice were implanted with AXT cells into the right femoral bone marrow cavity, the survival period was significantly prolonged by repeated inhibition of sensory neurons of AAV6-hM4Di-injected mice by CNO administration. These findings suggest that persistent pain signals may promote tumor growth by the increased expression of sensory-located peptides and growth factors, and controlling cancer pain may prolong cancer survival.