Interleukin-1 may link helplessness-hopelessness with cancer progression: A proposed model

Miriam Argaman, Yori Gidron, Shmuel Ariad

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


A model of the relations between psychological factors and cancer progression should include brain and systemic components and their link with critical cellular stages in cancer progression. We present a psychoneuroimmunological (PNI) model that links helplessness-hopelessness (HH) with cancer progression via interleukin-1β (IL-1β). IL-1β was elevated in the brain following exposure to inescapable shock, and HH was minimized by antagonizing cerebral IL-1β. Elevated cerebral IL-1β increased cancer metastasis in animals. Inescapable shock was associated with systemic elevations IL-1β and peripheral IL-1β was associated with escape from apoptosis, angiogenesis, and metastasis. Involvement of the sympathetic nervous system and the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis are discussed. Future studies need to identify the role of additional factors in this PNI pathway.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)161-170
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Behavioral Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Cancer
  • Hopelessness
  • IL-1β
  • Progression
  • Psychoneuroimmunology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology


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