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Nitric Oxide: Cancer Target or Anticancer Agent?

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Despite the improved understanding of nitric oxide (NO) biology and the large amount of preclinical experiments testing its role in cancer development and progression, it is still debated whether NO should be considered a potential anticancer agent or instead a carcinogen. The complexity of NO effects whitin a cell and the variability of the final biological outcome depending upon NO levels makes it highly challenging to determine the therapeutic value of interfering with the activity of this intriguing gaseous messenger. This uncertainty has so far halted the clinical implementation of NO-based therapeutics in the field of oncology. Accordingly, only an in depth knowledge of the mechanisms leading to experimental tumor regression or progression in response to NO will allow us to exploit this molecule to fight cancer.





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Keywords: Nitric oxide; anticancer therapy; cancer; nitric oxide donating drug; nitric oxide synthase inhibitor; reactive nitrogen species; tumor biology

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2009

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  • Current Cancer Drug Targets aims to cover all the latest and outstanding developments on the medicinal chemistry, pharmacology, molecular biology, genomics and biochemistry of contemporary molecular drug targets involved in cancer, e.g. disease specific proteins, receptors, enzymes, genes.
    Each issue of the journal contains a series of timely in-depth reviews written by leaders in the field covering a range of current topics on drug targets involved in cancer.
    As the discovery, identification, characterization and validation of novel human drug targets for anti-cancer drug discovery continues to grow; this journal has become essential reading for all pharmaceutical scientists involved in drug discovery and development.
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