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The Role Of Mitochondrial Oxidative Stress And The Tumor Microenvironment In Radiation-related Cancer

Tsutomu Shimura

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ABSTRACT The health risks associated with low-dose radiation, which are a major concern after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident (the Fukushima accident), have been extensively investigated, and the cancer risks from low-dose radiation exposure (below ~ 100 mSv) are thought to be negligible. According to World Health Organization and the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation reports, the level of radiation exposure from the Fukushima accident is limited, estimating no significant increased risk from the accident. Radiation-induced cell injury is mainly caused by oxidative damage to biomolecules, including DNA, lipids and proteins. Radiation stimulates metabolic activation within the mitochondria to provide energy for the DNA damage response. Mitochondrial respiratory chain complexes I and III are the most important intracellular source of reactive oxygen species (ROS) during oxidative phosphorylation in eukaryotic cells. Manganese superoxide dismutase and glutathione are key players in redox control within cells. However, perturbation of the antioxidant response leads to chronic oxidative stress in irradiated cells. Excess ROS of mitochondrial origin is reported in cancer-associated fibroblast and promotes carcinogenesis. The aim of this review paper is to discuss critical roles of mitochondria in radiation-related cancer by introducing our recent studies. In particular, elevated mitochondrial ROS in stromal fibroblasts potentiate transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-β) signaling, which triggers smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) expression to stimulate myofibroblast differentiation. Radiation-induced myofibroblasts promote tumor growth by enhancing angiogenesis. Thus, radiation affects both malignant cancer cells and neighboring stromal cells through secretion of soluble factors.