Paradoxical roles of dual oxidases in cancer biology

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Dysregulated oxidative metabolism is a well-recognized aspect of cancer biology, and many therapeutic strategies are based on targeting cancers by altering cellular redox pathways. The NADPH oxidases (NOXes) present an important enzymatic source of biological oxidants, and the expression and activation of several NOX isoforms are frequently dysregulated in many cancers. Cell-based studies have demonstrated a role for several NOX isozymes in controlling cell proliferation and/or cell migration, further supporting a potential contributing role for NOX in promoting cancer. While various NOX isoforms are often upregulated in cancers, paradoxical recent findings indicate that dual oxidases (DUOXes), normally prominently expressed in epithelial lineages, are frequently suppressed in epithelial-derived cancers by epigenetic mechanisms, although the functional relevance of such DUOX silencing has remained unclear. This review will briefly summarize our current understanding regarding the importance of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and NOXes in cancer biology, and focus on recent observations indicating the unique and seemingly opposing roles of DUOX enzymes in cancer biology. We will discuss current knowledge regarding the functional properties of DUOX, and recent studies highlighting mechanistic consequences of DUOX1 loss in lung cancer, and its consequences for tumor invasiveness and current anticancer therapy. Finally, we will also discuss potentially unique roles for the DUOX maturation factors. Overall, a better understanding of mechanisms that regulate DUOX and the functional consequences of DUOX silencing in cancer may offer valuable new diagnostic insights and novel therapeutic opportunities.Graphical abstractHighlightsExpression and activation of NOX enzymes is often dysregulated in cancer, and may promote features of cancer biology.Several NOXes, especially DUOX1, are often suppressed epithelial derived cancers by epigenetic mechanisms.Epithelial silencing of DUOX1 promotes epithelial alterations and invasive properties, and may be associated with worse prognosis.

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