Microgravity Alters Cancer Growth and Progression
Dhwani V. Jhala,
Raosaheb K. Kale,
Rana P. Singh.
Study of the process of cancer initiation, growth and progression in altered gravity is of utmost importance
considering the health status of researchers visiting in space and future scope of space tourism. Microgravity affects
various cells in the body differently; however, the mechanisms of such effects are not understood completely. Therefore,
it is imperative to explore various physiological and biochemical processes, particularly those which can influence the
process of carcinogenesis. If the changes in physiological or biochemical processes do not revert back to normalcy even
after returning from the space to earth, it may lead to various aberrations and morphological changes during the life span.
Such changes could lead to pathological conditions including cancer. For example, microgravity is observed to suppress
the activity of immune cells, which itself increases the risk of cancer development. It is little known how the microgravity
affects cellular and molecular events that determine physiological and biological responses. There is also a possibility of
changes in epigenetic signatures during microgravity exposure which remains unexplored. Herein, we have reviewed the
effect of microgravity on relevant molecular and biological processes, and how it could influence the course of cancer
development. In this regard, we have also highlighted the areas of research that require more attention to bridge the gap of
understanding for such biological processes.
Keywords: Apoptosis, cancer growth, cell proliferation, cell signalling, microgravity.
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