There are also concerns about the potential link between cancer and capsaicin. Research at the University of Minnesota demonstrates a link between skin cancer and capsaicin use. Specifically, the researchers found that capsaicin induces inflammation and may affect cancer development. The results of these research efforts found that the co-carcinogenic effect of capsaicin appears to be mediated through the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and not the TRPV1 pathway.4
According to Makoto Tominaga, MD, PhD, of National Institutes of Natural Sciences in Okazaki, Japan,, researchers are eager to understand capsaicin action and clarify the mechanism in order to develop new therapeutic approaches. “If we find the way to inhibit the ANO1 action or TRPV1/ANO1 interaction, we can expect to keep the pain-killing ability of capsaicin without affecting TRPV1 desensitization, which could lead to the reduction in the initial pain sensation,” said Tominaga.
- Clinical Pain Advisor. Available at: https://www.clinicalpainadvisor.com/home/topics/treatments/research-sheds-light-on-how-capsaicin-may-ease-pain/. Accessed: April 22, 2015.
- Takayama Y, et al. PANS. 2015;112 (16):5213-5218.
- Schaldemose E, et al. PAIN. 2015; doi: 10.1097/j.pain.0000000000000155
- Science Daily. Capsaicin can act as co-carcinogen, study finds; Chili pepper component linked to skin cancer. Available at: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100902121057.htm. Accessed: April 22, 2015.