Reactive Oxygen Species: A Promising Therapeutic Target For SDHx-Mutated Pheochromocytoma And Paraganglioma
Pheochromocytoma (PHEO) and paraganglioma (PGL) are rare neuroendocrine tumors derived from neural crest cells. Germline variants in approximately 20 PHEO/PGL susceptibility genes are found in about 40% of patients, half of which are found in the genes that encode succinate dehydrogenase (SDH). Patients with SDH subunit B (SDHB)-mutated PHEO/PGL exhibit a higher likelihood of developing metastatic disease, which can be partially explained by the metabolic cell reprogramming and redox imbalance caused by the mutation. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) are highly reactive molecules involved in a multitude of important signaling pathways. A moderate level of ROS production can help regulate cellular physiology; however, an excessive level of oxidative stress can lead to tumorigenic processes including stimulation of growth factor-dependent pathways and the induction of genetic instability. Tumor cells effectively exploit antioxidant enzymes in order to protect themselves against harmful intracellular ROS accumulation, which highlights the essential balance between ROS production and scavenging. Exploiting ROS accumulation can be used as a possible therapeutic strategy in ROS-scavenging tumor cells. Here, we focus on the role of ROS production in PHEO and PGL, predominantly in SDHB-mutated cases. We discuss potential strategies and approaches to anticancer therapies by enhancing ROS production in these difficult-to-treat tumors.