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Mediators of Inflammation
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 801685, 7 pages
Review Article

Contribution of Neuroinflammation to the Pathogenesis of Cancer Cachexia

Department of Clinical Medicine, Sapienza University of Rome, Viale del Policlinico 155, 00161 Rome, Italy

Received 26 February 2015; Accepted 10 June 2015

Academic Editor: Philip Bufler

Copyright © 2015 Alessio Molfino 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.


Inflammation characterizes the course of acute and chronic diseases and is largely responsible for the metabolic and behavioral changes occurring during the clinical journey of patients. Robust data indicate that, during cancer, functional modifications within brain areas regulating energy homeostasis contribute to the onset of anorexia, reduced food intake, and increased catabolism of muscle mass and adipose tissue. In particular, functional changes are associated with increased hypothalamic concentration of proinflammatory cytokines, which suggests that neuroinflammation may represent the adaptive response of the brain to peripheral challenges, including tumor growth. Within this conceptual framework, the vagus nerve appears to be involved in conveying alert signals to the hypothalamus, whereas hypothalamic serotonin appears to contribute to triggering catabolic signals.