Effects of local anesthetics on cancer cells

Pharmacol Ther. 2020 Aug;212:107558. doi: 10.1016/j.pharmthera.2020.107558. Epub 2020 Apr 25.


Local anesthetics are widely used during clinical cancer surgeries. Studies have suggested that the use and the type of anesthesia affect cancer outcomes. In vivo studies and clinical data show that the use of local anesthetics is potentially beneficial for cancer treatment. However, the effect of the use of local anesthetics on the survival rate of cancer patients following surgery is controversial and, so far, little is known about the direct effects of local anesthetics on cancer cells. This work reviews and summarizes the published literature regarding the preclinical research methods and findings on the influence of local anesthetics on cancer cells. We hope that a thorough understanding of this subject will help to define optimal anesthetic regimens that lead to better outcomes for clinical cancer patients.

Keywords: Bupivacaine; Cancer cells; Lidocaine; Local anesthetics; Ropivacaine.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anesthetics, Local / chemistry
  • Anesthetics, Local / pharmacology*
  • Animals
  • Cell Movement / drug effects
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Ion Channels / drug effects
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Neoplasms / surgery


  • Anesthetics, Local
  • Ion Channels