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Cancer Metastasis Rev. 1998 Mar;17(1):25-37.

Role of nitric oxide in genotoxicity: implication for carcinogenesis.

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Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Lausanne, Switzerland.


Reactive oxygen species can initiate carcinogenesis by virtue of their capacity to react with DNA and cause mutations. Recently, it has been suggested that nitric oxide (NO) and its derivatives produced in inflamed tissues could contribute to the carcinogenesis process. Genotoxicity of NO follows its reaction with oxygen and superoxide. It can be due either to direct DNA damage or indirect DNA damage. Direct damage includes DNA base deamination, peroxynitrite-induced adducts formation and single strand breaks in the DNA. Indirect damage is due to the interaction of NO reactive species with other molecules such as amines, thiols and lipids. The efficiency of one pathway or another might depend on the cellular antioxidant status or the presence of free metals.

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