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Mitochondrial Redox Signaling and Tumor Progression

The First Affiliated Hospital, Center for Translational Medicine, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510080, China
Interdepartmental Program in Vascular Biology and Therapeutics, Department of Pathology, Yale University School of Medicine, 10 Amistad St, New Haven, CT 06520, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contribute equally.
Academic Editor: Alba Minelli
Cancers 2016, 8(4), 40;
Received: 20 December 2015 / Revised: 21 February 2016 / Accepted: 7 March 2016 / Published: 25 March 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Antioxidants in Cancer)
PDF [625 KB, uploaded 25 March 2016]


Cancer cell can reprogram their energy production by switching mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation to glycolysis. However, mitochondria play multiple roles in cancer cells, including redox regulation, reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation, and apoptotic signaling. Moreover, these mitochondrial roles are integrated via multiple interconnected metabolic and redox sensitive pathways. Interestingly, mitochondrial redox proteins biphasically regulate tumor progression depending on cellular ROS levels. Low level of ROS functions as signaling messengers promoting cancer cell proliferation and cancer invasion. However, anti-cancer drug-initiated stress signaling could induce excessive ROS, which is detrimental to cancer cells. Mitochondrial redox proteins could scavenger basal ROS and function as “tumor suppressors” or prevent excessive ROS to act as “tumor promoter”. Paradoxically, excessive ROS often also induce DNA mutations and/or promotes tumor metastasis at various stages of cancer progression. Targeting redox-sensitive pathways and transcriptional factors in the appropriate context offers great promise for cancer prevention and therapy. However, the therapeutics should be cancer-type and stage-dependent. View Full-Text
Keywords: mitochondria; redox signaling; cancer progression; apoptosis; anti-oxidant proteins mitochondria; redox signaling; cancer progression; apoptosis; anti-oxidant proteins

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Chen, Y.; Zhang, H.; Zhou, H.J.; Ji, W.; Min, W. Mitochondrial Redox Signaling and Tumor Progression. Cancers 2016, 8, 40.

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