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Cancer Treat Rev. 2009 Feb;35(1):32-46. doi: 10.1016/j.ctrv.2008.07.004. Epub 2008 Sep 6.

Elevated copper and oxidative stress in cancer cells as a target for cancer treatment.

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1
Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, College of Pharmacy, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40536-0082, USA.

Abstract

As we gain a better understanding of the factors affecting cancer etiology, we can design improved treatment strategies. Over the past three to four decades, there have been numerous successful efforts in recognizing important cellular proteins essential in cancer growth and therefore these proteins have been targeted for cancer treatment. However, studies have shown that targeting one or two proteins in the complex cancer cascade may not be sufficient in controlling and/or inhibiting cancer growth. Therefore, there is a need to examine features which are potentially involved in multiple facets of cancer development. In this review we discuss the targeting of the elevated copper (both in serum and tumor) and oxidative stress levels in cancer with the aid of a copper chelator d-penicillamine (d-pen) for potential cancer treatment. Numerous studies in the literature have reported that both the serum and tumor copper levels are elevated in a variety of malignancies, including both solid tumor and blood cancer. Further, the elevated copper levels have been shown to be directly correlated to cancer progression. Enhanced levels of intrinsic oxidative stress has been shown in variety of tumors, possibly due to the combination of factors such as elevated active metabolism, mitochondrial mutation, cytokines, and inflammation. The cancer cells under sustained ROS stress tend to heavily utilize adaptation mechanisms and may exhaust cellular ROS-buffering capacity. Therefore, the elevated copper levels and increased oxidative stress in cancer cells provide for a prospect of selective cancer treatment.

PMID:
18774652
DOI:
10.1016/j.ctrv.2008.07.004
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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