The Basic Biobehavioral Research Program (BBRB) in the Behavioral Research Program, Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences of the National Cancer Institute sponsored a symposium "Contribution of the host to tumor progression: Behavior and the neuroendocrine system as targets for cancer therapy?" at the 2003 Meeting of the PsychoNeuroImmunology Research Society (www.pnirs.org) in Amelia Island, FL. Cancer progression is a complex process dependent on the growth rate vascularization, metastatic potential, lysis and apoptosis of tumor cells. Genetic characteristics of the tumor itself including expression of specific oncogenes can predict the malignant potential of the tumor. Host factors might also play a key role in tumor progression.
Organized by Drs. Michael Stefanek, Chief of BBRB and Cobi J. Heijnen of the University Medical Center Utrecht, four presentations explored basic and applied research on the contribution of the host to cancer progression. Ronald Herberman, M.D. of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute presented on "Evidence for the role of natural killer cells in cancer and tumor metastasis". Annemieke Kavalaars, Ph.D. of the University Medical Center of Utrecht discussed the potential influence of behavioral and neuroendocrine characteristics on tumor angiogenesis and growth. Susan Lutgendorf, Ph.D. of the University of Iowa presented on the effects of stress and social support on the production of angiogenic factors in ovarian cancer. The symposium concluded with a presentation from David Spiegel, M.D. entitled "Abnormal diurnal cortisol slope: Associations with disease status, survival, immune function, perceived stress and emotional regulation in women with breast cancer".