Cancer Cachexia and Depressive States: A Neuro-Endocrine-Immunological Disease?

Hiromi Iwagaki, Akio Hizuta, Masashi Uomoto, Yoshiaki Takeuchi, Shinya Saito, Noriaki Tanaka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


Plasma 5-hydroxytryptamine (serotonin), tryptophan, neopterin and cortisol levels were measured in patients with depressive cancer cachexia and in healthy controls during the same time period. Patients with advanced cancers had significantly raised neopterin, a marker of endogenous gamma-interferon (IFN-γ) production, and cortisol values, but decreased serotonin and tryptophan levels. Much work has been done to elucidate the possible role of serotonin in depressive states. IFN-γ induces a high level of indoleamine dioxygenase (IDO), a tryptophan degrading enzyme, and high cortisol levels induce high tryptophan oxygenase activity, which in turn increases metabolism along the tryptophannicotinic acid pathway. These results suggest that persistent immune activation and intense adrenal activity occur in patients with cancer cachexia, resulting in disorders involving tryptophan metabolism followed by depression in cancer cahexia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)233-236
Number of pages4
JournalActa medica Okayama
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1997


  • Cancer cachexia
  • Cortisol
  • Neopterin
  • Neuro-endocrine-immune interaction
  • Serotonin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology


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