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The Two Faces of Capsaicin » Isaúde
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Cancer Research
2011-04-14 04:08:55

The Two Faces of Capsaicin

Description: Capsaicin (trans-8-methyl-N-vanillyl-6-nonenamide) is the principal pungent component in hot peppers, including red chili peppers, jalapeños, and habaneros. Consumed worldwide, capsaicin has a long and convoluted history of controversy about whether its consumption or topical application is entirely safe. Conflicting epidemiologic data and basic research study results suggest that capsaicin can act as a carcinogen or as a cancer preventive agent. Capsaicin is unique among naturally occurring irritant compounds because the initial neuronal excitation evoked is followed by a long-lasting refractory period, during which the previously excited neurons are no longer responsive to a broad range of stimuli. This process is referred to as desensitization and has been exploited for its therapeutic potential. Capsaicin-containing creams have been in clinical use for many years to relieve a variety of painful conditions. However, their effectiveness in pain relief is also highly debated and some adverse side effects have been reported. We have found that chronic, long-term topical application of capsaicin increased skin carcinogenesis in mice treated with a tumor promoter. These results might imply that caution should be exercised when using capsaicin-containing topical applications in the presence of a tumor promoter, such as, for example, sunlight. Cancer Res; 71(8); 2809–14. ©2011 AACR.

Identifier: info:doi/10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-10-3756
Editorial: American Association for Cancer Research
Section: Reviews
Number: 8
Volume: 71
Page: 2809 a 2814
Author: Bode, A. M., Dong, Z.


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