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Current Medicinal Chemistry


ISSN (Print): 0929-8673
ISSN (Online): 1875-533X

Review Article (Mini-Review)

The Mechanisms of Action of Botulinum Toxin Type A in Nociceptive and Neuropathic Pathways in Cancer Pain

Author(s): Samuel Reyes-Long, Alfonso Alfaro-Rodríguez, Jose Luis Cortes-Altamirano, Eleazar Lara-Padilla, Elizabeth Herrera-Maria, Pablo Romero-Morelos, Mauricio Salcedo and Cindy Bandala*

Volume 28 , Issue 15 , 2021

Published on: 06 August, 2020

Page: [2996 - 3009] Pages: 14

DOI: 10.2174/0929867327666200806105024

Price: $65


Background: Botulinum toxin type A (BoNT-A) is widely employed for cosmetic purposes and in the treatment of certain diseases such as strabismus, hemifacial spasm and focal dystonia among others. BoNT-A effect mainly acts at the muscular level by inhibiting the release of acetylcholine at presynaptic levels consequently blocking the action potential in the neuromuscular junction. Despite the great progress in approval and pharmaceutical usage, improvement in displacing BoNT-A to other pathologies has remained very limited. Patients under diagnosis of several types of cancer experience pain in a myriad of ways; it can be experienced as hyperalgesia or allodynia, and the severity of the pain depends, to some degree, on the place where the tumor is located. Pain relief in patients diagnosed with cancer is not always optimal, and as the disease progresses, transition to more aggressive drugs, like opioids is sometimes unavoidable. In recent years BoNT-A employment in cancer has been explored, as well as an antinociceptive drug; experiments in neuropathic, inflammatory and acute pain have been carried out in animal models and humans. Although its mechanism has not been fully known, evidence has shown that BoNT-A inhibits the secretion of pain mediators (substance P, Glutamate, and calcitonin gene related protein) from the nerve endings and dorsal root ganglion, impacting directly on the nociceptive transmission through the anterolateral and trigeminothalamic systems.

Aim: The study aimed to collect available literature regarding molecular, physiological and neurobiological evidence of BoNT-A in cancer patients suffering from acute, neuropathic and inflammatory pain in order to identify possible mechanisms of action in which the BoNT-A could impact positively in pain treatment.

Conclusion: BoNT-A could be an important neo-adjuvant and coadjuvant in the treatment of several types of cancer, to diminish pro-tumor activity and secondary pain.

Keywords: Botulinum toxin type A, nociception, cancer, neuropathic pain, nociceptive pain, glutamate.

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