Gastrin, inflammation, and carcinogenesis

Celia Chao, Mark R. Hellmich

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Chronic infection of the gastric mucosa with Helicobacter pylori has long been recognized as a significant risk factor for gastric cancer, and indeed, this model represents the prototypical inflammation-associated cancer. In this review, we present the latest clinical and experimental evidence showing that gastrin peptides and their receptors [the cholecystokinin (CCK2) receptors] potentiate the progression of gastric cancer and other gastrointestinal malignancies in the presence of inflammation. RECENT FINDINGS: We highlight the feed-forward mechanisms by which gastrin and CCK2 receptor expression are upregulated during inflammation and in gastrointestinal cancers, summarize gastrin's proinflammatory role by inducing the production of cyclooxgenase-2 (COX-2) and interleukin-8 (IL-8), and relate evidence suggesting that gastrin and their receptors modulate the function of immune cells and fibroblasts following cellular stress, injury, repair, as well as during cancer progression. SUMMARY: We discuss trends for future studies directed toward the elucidation of gastrin peptides' role in regulating intercellular molecular signaling mechanisms between local and circulating immune cells, fibroblasts, epithelial cells, and other cell types in the microenvironments of inflammation-related cancers. Elucidation of the molecular and cellular pathways that relate inflammation with cancer may provide additional opportunities to develop complementary therapies that target the inflammatory microenvironment of the cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33-39
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent Opinion in Endocrinology, Diabetes and Obesity
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2010


  • CCK receptors
  • Gastrin
  • Gastrointestinal cancers
  • Helicobacter pylori
  • Inflammation
  • Progastrin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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