The hypothesis that the physiologic response to psychologic stress influences the initiation of cancer is highly controversial. The link between initiating stressors, the psychologic stress response, and disease is plausible, considering that the stress response is associated with defined physiologic outcomes and molecular mechanisms. In light of this, we review the clinical relevance of psychologic stress on the risk of cancer, and we propose potential molecular pathways that may link the stress response to early stages of malignant cell transformation.

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