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Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity
Volume 2013, Article ID 972913, 10 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/972913
Review Article

Role of Glutathione in Cancer Progression and Chemoresistance

Department of Experimental Medicine, Section of General Pathology, Via LB Alberti 2, 16132 Genoa, Italy

Received 22 January 2013; Revised 26 April 2013; Accepted 29 April 2013

Academic Editor: Donald A. Vessey

Copyright © 2013 Nicola Traverso et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Glutathione (GSH) plays an important role in a multitude of cellular processes, including cell differentiation, proliferation, and apoptosis, and disturbances in GSH homeostasis are involved in the etiology and progression of many human diseases including cancer. While GSH deficiency, or a decrease in the GSH/glutathione disulphide (GSSG) ratio, leads to an increased susceptibility to oxidative stress implicated in the progression of cancer, elevated GSH levels increase the antioxidant capacity and the resistance to oxidative stress as observed in many cancer cells. The present review highlights the role of GSH and related cytoprotective effects in the susceptibility to carcinogenesis and in the sensitivity of tumors to the cytotoxic effects of anticancer agents.