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Glioma and Neurokinin-1 Receptor Antagonists: A New Therapeutic Approach

[ Vol. 19 , Issue. 1 ]


Miguel Muñoz* and Rafael Coveñas   Pages 92 - 100 ( 9 )


Background: In adults, the most lethal and frequent primary brain tumor is glioblastoma. Despite multimodal aggressive therapies, the median survival time after diagnosis is around 15 months. In part, this is due to the blood-brain barrier that restricts common treatments (e.g., chemotherapy). Unfortunately, glioma recurs in 90% of patients. New therapeutic strategies against glioma are urgently required. Substance P (SP), through the neurokinin (NK)-1 receptor, controls cancer cell proliferation by activating c-myc, mitogenactivated protein kinases, activator protein 1 and extracellular signal-regulated kinases 1 and 2. Glioma cells overexpress NK-1 receptors when compared with normal cells. The NK-1 receptor/SP system regulates the proliferation/migration of glioma cells and stimulates angiogenesis, triggering inflammation which contributes to glioma progression. In glioma cells, SP favors glycogen breakdown, essential for glycolysis. By contrast, in glioma, NK-1 receptor antagonists block the proliferation of tumor cells and the breakdown of glycogen and also promote the death (apoptosis) of these cells. These antagonists also inhibit angiogenesis and exert antimetastatic and anti-inflammatory actions.

Objective: This review updates the involvement of the NK-1 receptor/SP system in the development of glioma and the potential clinical application of NK-1 receptor antagonists as antiglioma agents.

Conclusion: The NK-1 receptor plays a crucial role in glioma and NK-1 receptor antagonists could be used as anti-glioma drugs.


Substance P, glioblastoma, aprepitant, antitumor, apoptosis, metastasis, angiogenesis, signalling pathway.


Virgen del Rocío University Hospital, Research Laboratory on Neuropeptides (IBIS), Seville, Institute of Neurosciences of Castilla y León (INCYL), Laboratory of Neuroanatomy of the Peptidergic, Systems (Lab. 14), University of Salamanca, Salamanca

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