Surgery remains an essential therapeutic approach for most solid malignancies. Although for more than a century accumulating clinical and experimental data have indicated that surgical procedures themselves may promote the appearance and progression of recurrent and metastatic lesions, only in recent years has renewed interest been taken in the mechanism by which metastasizing of cancer occurs following operative procedures. It is well proven now that surgery constitutes a risk factor for the promotion of pre-existing, possibly dormant micrometastases and the acceleration of new metastases through several mechanisms, including the release of neuroendocrine and stress hormones and wound healing pathway-associated immunosuppression, neovascularization, and tissue remodeling. These postoperative consequences synergistically facilitate the establishment of new metastases and the development of pre-existing micrometastases. While only in recent years the role of the peripheral nervous system has been recognized as another contributor to cancer development and metastasis, little is known about the contribution of tumor-associated neuronal and neuroglial elements in the metastatic disease related to surgical trauma and wound healing. Specifically, although numerous clinical and experimental data suggest that biopsy- and surgery-induced wound healing can promote survival and metastatic spread of residual and dormant malignant cells, the involvement of the tumor-associated neuroglial cells in the formation of metastases following tissue injury has not been well understood. Understanding the clinical significance and underlying mechanisms of neuroimmune regulation of surgery-associated metastasis will not only advance the field of neuro–immuno–oncology and contribute to basic science and translational oncology research but will also produce a strong foundation for developing novel mechanism-based therapeutic approaches that may protect patients against the oncologically adverse effects of primary tumor biopsy and excision.
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