Nitric oxide in cancer metastasis





Citation of Original Publication

Cheng, Huiwen, Lei Wang, Molly Mollica, Anthony T. Re, Shiyong Wu, and Li Zuo. “Nitric Oxide in Cancer Metastasis.” Cancer Letters 353, no. 1 (October 10, 2014): 1–7.


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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)



Cancer metastasis is the spread and growth of tumor cells from the original neoplasm to further organs. This review analyzes the role of nitric oxide (NO•), a signaling molecule, in the regulation of cancer formation, progression, and metastasis. The action of NO• on cancer relies on multiple factors including cell type, metastasis stage, and organs involved. Various chemotherapy drugs cause cells to release NO•, which in turn induces cytotoxic death of breast, liver, and skin tumors. However, NO• has also been clinically connected to a poor cancer prognosis because of its role in angiogenesis and intravasation. This supports the claim that NO• can be characterized as both pro-metastatic and anti-metastatic, depending on specific factors. The inhibition of cell proliferation and anti-apoptosis pathways by NO• donors has been proposed as a novel therapy to various cancers. Studies suggest that NO•-releasing non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs act on cancer cells in several ways that may make them ideal for cancer therapy. This review summarizes the biological significance of NO• in each step of cancer metastasis, its controversial effects for cancer progression, and its therapeutic potential.