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Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity
Volume 2017, Article ID 9326454, 12 pages
Review Article

Aspects of Carbon Monoxide in Form of CO-Releasing Molecules Used in Cancer Treatment: More Light on the Way

Cardiff China Medical Research Collaborative (CCMRC), School of Medicine, Cardiff University, Heath Park, Cardiff CF14 4XN, UK

Correspondence should be addressed to Jun Cai;

Received 1 September 2016; Revised 10 January 2017; Accepted 15 January 2017; Published 13 February 2017

Academic Editor: Swaran J. S. Flora

Copyright © 2017 Malamati Kourti 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.


Carbon monoxide (CO) has always been recognised as a toxic gas, due to its higher affinity for haemoglobin than oxygen. However, biological studies have revealed an intriguing role for CO as an endogenous signalling molecule, a gasotransmitter. CO is demonstrated to exert many cellular activities including anti-inflammatory, antiapoptotic, and antiproliferative activities. In animal studies, CO gas administration can prevent tissues from hypoxia or ischemic-reperfusion injury. As a result, there are a plethora of reports dealing with the biological applications of CO and CO-releasing molecules (CORMs) in inflammatory and vascular diseases. CORMs have already been tested as a therapeutic agent in clinical trials. More recently, an increased interest has been drawn to CO’s potential use as an anticancer agent. In this review, we will aim to give an overview of the research focused on the role of CO and CORMs in different types of cancer and expand to the recent development of the next generation CORMs for clinical application in cancer treatment.