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The neuropeptide hormone oxytocin, which is released from the posterior pituitary gland, is involved in a number of physiological processes. Understanding of its effects is gradually increasing due to new research in this area. While mostly recognized as a reproductive system hormone, oxytocin also regulates other organ systems such as the brain and cardiovascular system. Recently, research has focused on unraveling its involvement in cancer, and emerging evidence suggests a potential role for oxytocin as a cancer biomarker. This review summarizes observations linking oxytocin and cancer, with a special emphasis on prostate cancer, where it may promote cell proliferation. Research suggests that oxytocin effects may depend on cell type, concentration of the hormone, its interactions with other hormones in the microenvironment, and the precise localization of its receptor on the cell membrane. Future research is needed to further elucidate the involvement of oxytocin in cancer, and whether it could be a clinical cancer biomarker or therapeutic target.


This article was originally published in the World Journal of Clinical Oncology, available at DOI: 10.5306/wjco.v9.i5.74.

This article is an open-access article which was distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license

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