In the paradigm of drug administration, determining the correct dosage of a therapeutic is often a challenge. Several drugs have been noted to demonstrate contradictory effects per se
at high and low doses. This duality in function of a drug at different concentrations is known as hormesis. Therefore, it becomes necessary to study these biphasic functions in order to understand the mechanistic basis of their effects. In this article, we focus on different molecules and pathways associated with diseases that possess a duality in their function and thus prove to be the seat of hormesis. In particular, we have highlighted the pathways and factors involved in the progression of cancer and how the biphasic behavior of the molecules involved can alter the manifestations of cancer. Because of the pragmatic role that it exhibits, the imminent need is to draw attention to the concept of hormesis. Herein, we also discuss different stressors that trigger hormesis and how stress-mediated responses increase the overall adaptive response of an individual to stress stimulus. We talk about common pathways through which cancer progresses (such as nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2-Kelch-like ECH-associated protein 1 (Nrf2-Keap1), sirtuin-forkhead box O (SIRT-FOXO) and others), analyzing how diverse molecules associated with these pathways conform to hormesis.
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