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Oncogenic role of neurotensin and neurotensin receptors in various cancers

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Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology and Physiology

Published online on


Neurotensin (NTS) has long been recognized as a neurotransmitter or neuromodulator in the central nervous system and as an endocrine agent in the periphery via actions mediated through neurotensin receptors (NTSRs). Many studies support a role for NTS in the endocrine, autocrine and paracrine growth stimulation of cancer, with oncogenic actions described for NTS in different types of cancers and cancer cell lines at each step of cancer progression, ranging from tumour growth and survival to metastatic spread. The mechanisms underlying the effects of the NTS/NTSR system in cell proliferation, migration and invasion, as well as the anti‐apoptotic effects of this system, have been elucidated in different types of cancers, and include mitogen‐activated protein kinases, phosphatidylinositol 3‐kinase and RhoGTPases. The present mini review summarizes recent findings relating to the oncogenic function of the NTS/NTSR system.