Mitochondrial dynamics are known to have an important role in so-called age-related diseases, including cancer. Mitochondria is an organelle involved in many key cellular functions and responds to physiologic or stress stimuli by adapting its structure and function. Perhaps the most important structural changes involve mitochondrial dynamics (fission and fusion), which occur in normal cells as well as in cells under dysregulation, such as cancer cells. Dynamin-related protein 1 (DRP1), a member of the dynamin family of guanosine triphosphatases (GTPases), is the key component of mitochondrial fission machinery. Dynamin-related protein 1 is associated with different cell processes such as apoptosis, mitochondrial biogenesis, mitophagy, metabolism, and cell proliferation, differentiation, and transformation. The role of DRP1 in tumorigenesis may seem to be paradoxical, since mitochondrial fission is a key mediator of two very different processes, cellular apoptosis and cell mitosis. Dynamin-related protein 1 has been associated with the development of distinct human cancers, including changes in mitochondrial energetics and cellular metabolism, cell proliferation, and stem cell maintenance, invasion, and promotion of metastases. However, the underlying mechanism for this association is still being explored. Herein, we review the published knowledge on the role of DRP1 in cancer, exploring its interaction with different biological processes in the tumorigenesis context.
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