Therapeutic potential of the vagus nerve in cancer

Eva Reijmen, Luca Vannucci, Marijke De Couck, Jacques De Grève, Yori Gidron

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Accumulating evidence points to a beneficial effect ofvagus nerve activity in tumor development. The vagus nerve is proposed to slow tumorigenesis because of its anti-inflammatory properties mediated through ACh and the α7nAChR. Since α7nAChRs are widely expressed by many types of immune cells we hypothesized that the vagus nerve affects the tumor microenvironment and anticancer immunity. We found direct evidence in studies using animal cancer models that vagus nerve stimulation alters immunological responses relevant to the tumor microenvironment. Also studies in pathologies other than cancer suggest a role for the vagus nerve in altering immunological responses relevant to anticancer immunity. These results provide a rationale to expect that vagus nerve stimulation, in combination with conventional cancer treatments, may improve the prognosis of cancer patients by promoting anticancer immunity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)38-43
Number of pages6
JournalImmunology Letters
StatePublished - Oct 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 European Federation of Immunological Societies


  • Acetylcholine
  • Cancer immunity
  • Vagotomy
  • Vagus/vagal nerve

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


Dive into the research topics of 'Therapeutic potential of the vagus nerve in cancer'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this