Following efficient tumor therapy, some cancer cells may survive through a dormancy process, contributing to tumor recurrence and worse outcomes. Dormancy is considered a process where most cancer cells in a tumor cell population are quiescent with no, or only slow, proliferation. Recent advances indicate that redox mechanisms control the dormant cancer cell life cycle, including dormancy entrance, long-term dormancy, and metastatic relapse. This regulatory network is orchestrated mainly through redox modification on key regulators or global change of reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels in dormant cancer cells. Encouragingly, several strategies targeting redox signaling, including sleeping, awaking, or killing dormant cancer cells are currently under early clinical evaluation. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying redox control of the dormant cancer cell cycle are poorly understood and need further exploration. In this review, we discuss the underlying molecular basis of redox signaling in the cell life cycle of dormant cancer and the potential redox-based targeting strategies for eliminating dormant cancer cells.
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