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Gastroenterology Research and Practice
Volume 2017, Article ID 6456257, 8 pages
Review Article

A Review of the Role of Neurotensin and Its Receptors in Colorectal Cancer

1Department of Surgery and Cancer, Imperial College London, Chelsea & Westminster Hospital Campus, London, UK
2Department of Colorectal Surgery, The Royal Marsden Hospital, Chelsea, London, UK

Correspondence should be addressed to Christos Kontovounisios;

Received 4 November 2016; Accepted 24 January 2017; Published 20 February 2017

Academic Editor: Wenhao Weng

Copyright © 2017 Shengyang Qiu et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Neurotensin (NTS) is a physiologically occurring hormone which affects the function of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. In recent years, NTS, acting through its cellular receptors (NTSR), has been implicated in the carcinogenesis of several cancers. In colorectal cancer (CRC), a significant body of evidence, from in vitro and in vivo studies, is available which elucidates the molecular biology of NTS/NTSR signalling and the resultant growth of CRC cells. There is growing clinical data from human studies which corroborate the role NTS/NTSR plays in the development of human CRC. Furthermore, blockade and modulation of the NTS/NTSR signalling pathways appears to reduce CRC growth in cell cultures and animal studies. Lastly, NTS/NTSR also shows potential of being utilised as a diagnostic biomarker for cancers as well as targets for functional imaging. We summarise the existing evidence and understanding of the role of NTS and its receptors in CRC.