I am a
Home I AM A Search Login

Papers of the Week

Papers: 29 Apr 2023 - 5 May 2023


Molecular/Cellular, Pharmacology/Drug Development

2023 May 02

Adv Biol (Weinh)


The Role of Opioid Receptors in Cancer.


Bhoir S, Uhelski M, Guerra-Londono JJ, Cata JP


Opioids are one of the most potent drugs for treating moderate to severe pain. Despite irrefutable clinical application in chronic pain management, the long-term use of opioids has been increasingly questioned due to undesired side effects that demand attention. Opioids such as morphine mediate clinically relevant effects primarily through the µ-opioid receptor that go beyond their classical role as analgesics, causing potentially fatal side effects such as tolerance, dependence, and addiction. Furthermore, there is growing evidence that opioids affect immune system function, cancer progression, metastasis, and recurrence. Though a biological plausibility, the clinical evidence for the action of opioids on cancer is mixed, revealing a more complex picture as researchers struggle to establish a vital link between opioid receptor agonists, cancer progression, and suppression, or both. Thus, in light of the uncertainty of opioid effects on cancer, in this review, a focused overview of the role of opioid receptors in modulating cancer progression, their underlying signaling mechanisms, and the biological activity of opioid receptor agonists and antagonists is provided.