A role for substance P in cancer promotion and progression: a mechanism to counteract intracellular death signals following oncogene activation or DNA damage

Cancer Metastasis Rev. 2006 Mar;25(1):137-45. doi: 10.1007/s10555-006-8161-9.


In the present review we discuss a central role for substance P (SP) in carcinogenesis. We suggest that one mechanism to induce mitogenesis of tumor cells is the activation of neurokinin-1 receptor (NK1R) through SP, linking cancer promotion and progression to a neurokinin-mediated environment. After reviewing the role of both SP and its receptor NK1R in normal and neoplastic cells we propose the use of neurokinin-1 receptor antagonists as a novel and promising approach for treating patients with cancer.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Apoptosis Regulatory Proteins / metabolism*
  • DNA Damage*
  • Disease Progression
  • Growth Substances / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Neurokinin-1 Receptor Antagonists
  • Oncogenes*
  • Receptors, Neurokinin-1 / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction
  • Substance P / physiology*
  • Tachykinins / metabolism


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Apoptosis Regulatory Proteins
  • Growth Substances
  • Neurokinin-1 Receptor Antagonists
  • Receptors, Neurokinin-1
  • Tachykinins
  • Substance P