Nanoparticles as tools to target redox homeostasis in cancer cells

Francesco Ciccarese, Vittoria Raimondi, Evgeniya Sharova, Micol Silic-Benussi, Vincenzo Ciminale

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Reactive oxygen species (ROS) constitute a homeostatic rheostat that modulates signal transduction pathways controlling cell turnover. Most oncogenic pathways activated in cancer cells drive a sustained increase in ROS production, and cancer cells are strongly addicted to the increased activity of scavenging pathways to maintain ROS below levels that produce macromolecular damage and engage cell death pathways. Consistent with this notion, tumor cells are more vulnerable than their normal counterparts to pharmacological treatments that increase ROS production and inhibit ROS scavenging. In the present review, we discuss the recent advances in the development of integrated anticancer therapies based on nanoparticles engineered to kill cancer cells by raising their ROS setpoint. We also examine nanoparticles engineered to exploit the metabolic and redox alterations of cancer cells to promote site-specific drug delivery to cancer cells, thus maximizing anticancer efficacy while minimizing undesired side effects on normal tissues.

Original languageEnglish
Article number211
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 4 2020


  • Cancer therapy
  • Nanoparticles
  • Redox homeostasis
  • ROS

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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