The hypothesis that the physiological response to psychological stress influences the initiation of cancer is highly controversial. The link between initiating stressors, the psychological stress response, and disease is plausible considering that the stress response is associated with defined physiological outcomes and molecular mechanisms. In light of this, we review the clinical relevance of psychological stress on the risk of cancer, and we propose potential molecular pathways that may link the stress response to early stages of malignant cell transformation.
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Acknowledgments: This work has been partially supported by R01CA246540 and R01CA193249 (SL).