Anaesthesia and cancer: can anaesthetic drugs modify gene expression?

27 Jul 2020
Aida Raigon Ponferrada, Jose Luis Guerrero Orriach, Alfredo Malo Manso, Enrique Sepúlveda Haro, Salvador Romero Molina, Ana Fontaneda Heredia, Manolo Baena Lopez, Jose Cruz Mañas

Cancer remains a primary cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide, and its incidence continues to increase. The most common cause of death in cancer patients is tumour recurrence. Surgery is the gold standard in the treatment of most tumours. However, cancer surgery can lead to the release of tumour cells into the systemic circulation. Surgical stress and several perioperative factors have been suggested to boost tumour growth, thereby increasing the risk of metastatic recurrence.

Preclinical and clinical studies suggest that anaesthetics and adjuvants administered during the perioperative period may impact cancer recurrence and survival. This document summarises the current evidence regarding the effects of anaesthetic drugs and analgesic techniques on the immune system, systemic inflammatory response and tumour cells, as well as their impact on cancer recurrence.

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