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Small GTPases. 2012 Apr-Jun;3(2):120-5. doi: 10.4161/sgtp.19556.

Human Mut T Homolog 1 (MTH1): a roadblock for the tumor-suppressive effects of oncogenic RAS-induced ROS.

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Department of Medicine, Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami, FL, USA.


Oncogenic RAS-induced reactive oxygen species (ROS) trigger barriers to cell transformation and cancer progression through tumor-suppressive responses such as cellular senescence or cell death. We have recently shown that oncogenic RAS-induced DNA damage and attendant premature senescence can be prevented by overexpressing human MutT Homolog 1 (MTH1), the major mammalian detoxifier of the oxidized DNA precursor, 8-oxo-dGTP. Paradoxically, RAS-induced ROS are also able to participate in tumor progression via transformative processes such as mitogenic signaling, the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), anoikis inhibition, and PI3K/Akt-mediated survival signaling. Here we provide a preliminary insight into the influence of MTH1 levels on the EMT phenotype and Akt activation in RAS-transformed HMLE breast epithelial cells. Within this context, we will discuss the implications of MTH1 upregulation in oncogenic RAS-sustaining cells as a beneficial adaptive change that inhibits ROS-mediated cell senescence and participates in the maintenance of ROS-associated tumor-promoting mechanisms. Accordingly, targeting MTH1 in RAS-transformed tumor cells will not only induce proliferative defects but also potentially enhance therapeutic cytotoxicity by shifting cellular response away from pro-survival mechanisms.

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