Molecular and neuroendocrine mechanisms of cancer cachexia


Cancer and its morbidities, such as cancer cachexia, constitute a major public health problem. Although cancer cachexia has afflicted humanity for centuries, its underlying multifactorial and complex physiopathology has hindered the understanding of its mechanism. During the last few decades we have witnessed a dramatic increase in the understanding of cancer cachexia pathophysiology. Anorexia and muscle and adipose tissue wasting are the main features of cancer cachexia. These apparently independent symptoms have humoral factors secreted by the tumor as a common cause. Importantly, the hypothalamus has emerged as an organ that senses the peripheral signals emanating from the tumoral environment, and not only elicits anorexia but also contributes to the development of muscle and adipose tissue loss. Herein, we review the roles of factors secreted by the tumor and its effects on the hypothalamus, muscle and adipose tissue, as well as highlighting the key targets that are being exploited for cancer cachexia treatment.



Hypothalamus, Neuroendocrinology, Cancer, Muscle, Neuropeptides


MENDES, Maria Carolina S. et al. Molecular and neuroendocrine mechanisms of cancer cachexia. Journal of Endocrinology, Bristol, v. 226, n. 3, p. 1, 2015.