The role of ROS in tumour development and progression


Eukaryotic cells have developed complex systems to regulate the production and response to reactive oxygen species (ROS). Different ROS control diverse aspects of cell behaviour from signalling to death, and deregulation of ROS production and ROS limitation pathways are common features of cancer cells. ROS also function to modulate the tumour environment, affecting the various stromal cells that provide metabolic support, a blood supply and immune responses to the tumour. Although it is clear that ROS play important roles during tumorigenesis, it has been difficult to reliably predict the effect of ROS modulating therapies. We now understand that the responses to ROS are highly complex and dependent on multiple factors, including the types, levels, localization and persistence of ROS, as well as the origin, environment and stage of the tumours themselves. This increasing understanding of the complexity of ROS in malignancies will be key to unlocking the potential of ROS-targeting therapies for cancer treatment.

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