T.G. Shrihari

Department of Oral Medicine and Oral Oncology, Krishna Devaraya College of Dental Sciences and Hospital, Bangalore, Karnataka, India.


Aim: Endorphins are endogenous morphine, neuropeptides, produced in the pituitary gland in response to stress and pain. There are three types of endorphins beta-endorphins, enkephalins, and dynorphins binds to mu, kappa, and delta receptors situated on nervous system and immune cells. Cancer is a major threat to mankind killing millions of people around the world annually. There has been recent advancements in the field of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy, still the prognosis of cancer patients not improved much with increasing morbidity. We can’t kill cancer cells without killing normal cells. Cancer cells and normal cells work alike. The aim of the review was to determine the anticancer activities of beta-endorphins.

Materials and methods: Articles regarding endorphins and its therapeutic application in cancer were searched on PubMed and Google scholar. This review includes studies, reviews, clinical trials and key findings of my research were included in the manuscript.

Results: Beta-endorphin is an abundant endorphin, potent than morphine, synthesized and secreted in the anterior pituitary gland, it is a precursor of POMC (proopiomelanocortin). It has got various mechanisms of action such as analgesic activity, anti-inflammatory activity, immune stimulatory activity, stress buster activity, and euphoric activity.

Conclusion: Beta endorphin is an abundant endogenous morphine used for natural holistic preventive, therapeutic, promotive, and palliative treatment of cancer without adverse effects and inexpensive.

Keywords: IL-1  IL-6; TNF-; Stress; Cortisol; Meditation; NF-Kb; STAT-3; HPA-axis.  


Dr. T.G. Shrihari

Assistant Professor,

Dept. of Oral Medicine and Oral Oncology,

Krishna Devaraya College of Dental Sciences and


Bangalore - 562157,





Cancer is a major cause of death worldwide1 . Cancers are mainly due to external environmental factors such as tobacco in the chewable and non-chewable form, chemical ingestion, alcohol consumption, dietary factors and viruses such as HPV (Human Papilloma virus).1 Chronic inflammation is considered as a seventh hallmark of cancer.1,4 Cancer cells work like normal cells, “I do not know how to kill the cancer cells without killing normal cells said” by a Nobel laureate hungarian biochemist, Albert Szent-Gyorgyi.1,29

Advanced treatment modalities such as surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy fail to improve the cancer prognosis, which is around 50% with an increasing morbidity and mortality rate. The present concept of holistic healing rather than healing a part of the body yields better results without complications. Endorphins are endogenous morphine, more potent than morphine acts as neuropeptides produced by the pituitary gland through hypothalamus in response to psychological stress, pain, sex, intense physical exercise, yoga, meditation, acupuncture, quantum healing, music therapy.14,16,20,21,22,25,26,29 It is also responsible for euphoria after vigorous exercise, creating a psychological relaxed state known as “runner’s high”.2-7,15,16,29

Endorphins are mainly of three types, -endorphins, enkephalins and dynorphins binds to mu, delta and kappa receptors respectively present on the immune cells and nervous system. -endorphins are the abundant endorphins, more potent than morphine, synthesized and stored in the anterior pituitary gland, it is a precursor of proopiomelanocortin (POMC) which binds to the µ receptors and their ligands present on the immune cells and nervous system.13,26

Neuroendocrinal pathway connects between nervous system, endocrinal system, and immune cells in human body. Neuroendocrinal system, which connects CNS (central nervous system) to PNS (peripheral nervous system) via HPA (Hypothalamo-pituitary axis) and ANS (Autonomic nervous system) through direct nerve fiber connections with cells or the organs of the immune cells.