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J Mammary Gland Biol Neoplasia. 2013 Mar;18(1):75-87. doi: 10.1007/s10911-012-9271-3. Epub 2012 Dec 27.

Impaired mitochondrial metabolism and mammary carcinogenesis.

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Pioneer Valley Life Sciences Institute, Springfield, MA 01107, USA.


Mitochondrial oxidative metabolism plays a key role in meeting energetic demands of cells by oxidative phosphorylation (OxPhos). Here, we have briefly discussed (a) the dynamic relationship that exists among glycolysis, the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle, and OxPhos; (b) the evidence of impaired OxPhos (i.e. mitochondrial dysfunction) in breast cancer; (c) the mechanisms by which mitochondrial dysfunction can predispose to cancer; and (d) the effects of host and environmental factors that can negatively affect mitochondrial function. We propose that impaired OxPhos could increase susceptibility to breast cancer via suppression of the p53 pathway, which plays a critical role in preventing tumorigenesis. OxPhos is sensitive to a large number of factors intrinsic to the host (e.g. inflammation) as well as environmental exposures (e.g. pesticides, herbicides and other compounds). Polymorphisms in over 143 genes can also influence the OxPhos system. Therefore, declining mitochondrial oxidative metabolism with age due to host and environmental exposures could be a common mechanism predisposing to cancer.

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