Table of Contents Author Guidelines Submit a Manuscript
Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity
Volume 2016, Article ID 1958174, 14 pages
Review Article

The Nrf2/HO-1 Axis in Cancer Cell Growth and Chemoresistance

1Giannina Gaslini Institute, Via Gerolamo Gaslini 5, 16147 Genoa, Italy
2Department of Experimental Medicine, University of Genoa, Via L. B. Alberti 2, 16132 Genoa, Italy
3Bambino Gesù Children’s Hospital, IRCCS, Piazza S. Onofrio 4, 00165 Rome, Italy

Received 24 April 2015; Revised 13 August 2015; Accepted 18 August 2015

Academic Editor: Patrícia Alexandra Madureira

Copyright © 2016 A. L. Furfaro 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.


The transcription factor, nuclear factor erythroid 2 p45-related factor 2 (Nrf2), acts as a sensor of oxidative or electrophilic stresses and plays a pivotal role in redox homeostasis. Oxidative or electrophilic agents cause a conformational change in the Nrf2 inhibitory protein Keap1 inducing the nuclear translocation of the transcription factor which, through its binding to the antioxidant/electrophilic response element (ARE/EpRE), regulates the expression of antioxidant and detoxifying genes such as heme oxygenase 1 (HO-1). Nrf2 and HO-1 are frequently upregulated in different types of tumours and correlate with tumour progression, aggressiveness, resistance to therapy, and poor prognosis. This review focuses on the Nrf2/HO-1 stress response mechanism as a promising target for anticancer treatment which is able to overcome resistance to therapies.