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