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J Biol Chem. 2005 Nov 25;280(47):39485-92. Epub 2005 Sep 22.

Mitochondrial manganese-superoxide dismutase expression in ovarian cancer: role in cell proliferation and response to oxidative stress.

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Department of Molecular Pathology, The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas 77030, USA.


Superoxide dismutases (SODs) are important antioxidant enzymes responsible for the elimination of superoxide radical (O(2)(-)). The manganese-containing SOD (Mn-SOD) has been suggested to have tumor suppressor function and is located in the mitochondria where the majority of O(2)(-) is generated during respiration. Although increased reactive oxygen species (ROS) in cancer cells has long been recognized, the expression of Mn-SOD in cancer and its role in cancer development remain elusive. The present study used a human tissue microarray to analyze Mn-SOD expression in primary ovarian cancer tissues, benign ovarian lesions, and normal ovary epithelium. Significantly higher levels of Mn-SOD protein expression were detected in the malignant tissues compared with normal tissues (p < 0.05). In experimental systems, suppression of Mn-SOD expression by small interfering RNA caused a 70% increase of superoxide in ovarian cancer cells, leading to stimulation of cell proliferation in vitro and more aggressive tumor growth in vivo. Furthermore, stimulation of mitochondrial O(2)(-) production induced an increase of Mn-SOD expression. Our findings suggest that the increase in Mn-SOD expression in ovarian cancer is a cellular response to intrinsic ROS stress and that scavenging of superoxide by SOD may alleviate the ROS stress and thus reduce the simulating effect of ROS on cell growth.

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