Metastatic expanse, not initial tumor load, is the foremost cause of cancer death. For
patient prophecy to update, new systemic therapies proficient in effectively inhibiting
seeded tumor cells’ outgrowth is needed. Intercommunication of metastatic cells with
the vascular endothelium arouses the local release of proinflammatory cytokines, which
act as signs promoting cancer cell adhesion, extravasation, and proliferation. Modern
work shows that a significant percentage of metastatic cells with massive GSH levels
survive the mingled nitrosative and oxidative tensions evoked by the vascular
endothelium and likely by macrophages and granulocytes.
Glutathione is an overflowing natural tripeptide attained within almost all cells.
Glutathione is profoundly reactive and is frequently seen conjugated to other molecules
through its sulfhydryl moiety. It introduces several critical roles within a cell, including
antioxidation, the continuance of the redox state, intonation of the immune response, and detoxification of xenobiotics. Concerning cancer, glutathione metabolism can play
both guarding and pathogenic characters. It is crucial in eliminating and detoxifying
carcinogens, and alterations in this pathway can profoundly affect cell survival.
However, by conferring resistance to some chemotherapeutic drugs, elevated
glutathione levels in tumor cells can protect such cells in bone marrow, breast cancer,
colon cancer, larynx cancer, and lung cancers.
Glutathione (GSH) is the amplest antioxidant observed in living organisms and has
versatile functions, most of which control cellular redox homeostasis. GSH conserves
sufficient levels of cysteine and detoxifies xenobiotics while also awarding therapeutic
resistance to cancer cells. However, GSH metabolism performs both beneficial and
pathogenic roles in a diversity of malignancies. It is essential to remove and detoxify
carcinogens, and alterations in this pathway can profoundly affect cell survival. Excess
GSH favors tumor progression, where raised levels correlate with increased
Glutathione (GSH) plays a vital role in many cellular processes, including cell
differentiation, proliferation, apoptosis, and variations in GSH homeostasis are
implicated in the etiology and progress of many human disorders, including cancer.
GSH deficiency of GSH/glutathione disulfide (GSSG) ratio results in an augmented
susceptibility to oxidative stress associated with cancer progression. Elevated GSH
levels boost the antioxidant capacity and stability to oxidative stress, as observed in
many cancer cells.
BIOSYNTHESIS OF GLUTATHIONE
Glutathione (GSH) is a tripeptide made by glutamic acid, cysteine, and glycine. The
glutamic acid produces a particular gamma-peptic bond with cysteine by its gamma-glutamyl group. Two sorts of GSH are possible: the reduced form (GSH), which serves
most GSH, and the oxidized form (GSSG), estimated to be less than 1% of the total
GSH Role in Regulating Cancer Development and Growth
Elevated GSH levels are linked with a proliferative response required for cell cycle
progression. The molecular mechanism of how GSH inflects cell proliferation
persists is speculative mainly. A vital tool for GSH’s role in DNA synthesis links to the
maintenance of diminished glutaredoxin or thioredoxin, which is needed for the activity
of ribonucleotide reductase, the rate-limiting enzyme in DNA synthesis.
Moreover, in liver cancer and metastatic melanoma cells, the GSH state is associated
with growth. It has also been described that a straight correlation between GSH
levels related to cellular proliferation and metastatic action exists. Intrasplenic
injection of B16 melanoma (B16M) cells into C57BL/6J syngenic mice caused
metastatic foci production by colonizing separate organs. However, the amount and size
of metastases increased when B16M cells with high GSH content were inoculated in
vivo. A considerable percentage of tumor cells with high GSH content could survive
in the presence of nitrosative and oxidative tension, thereby rendering them the main
task force in the metastatic invasion. Therefore, it is likely that keeping high
intracellular levels of GSH could be crucial for the extravascular maturity of metastatic
Furthermore, maintenance of mitochondrial GSH homeostasis may be a limiting
constituent for the survival of metastatic cells in the direct period following intrasinusoidal arrest and communication with activated vascular endothelial cells. A
mitochondrial dysfunction is a joint event in the mechanism leading to cell death,
and, lately, it is a crucial step for the killing of non-small-cell lung (NSCLC) carcinomas
that are resistant to standard treatments. Thus, we can conclude that the impairment
of GSH uptake by mitochondria may be essential to sensitize invasive cancer cells to
prooxidant compounds to activate the cell death mechanism.
GSH in Chemoresistance
The rise in GSH is a primary causative factor to drug resistance by joining to or
responding with drugs, cooperating with ROS, stopping harm to proteins or DNA, or
engaging in DNA repair processes. In melanoma cells, GSH reduction and GGT
repression significantly improved cytotoxicity via oxidative stress. In extension, it has
been shown that GGT-overexpressing cells were more immune to hydrogen peroxide and chemotherapeutics, such as doxorubicin, cisplatin, and 5-fluorouracil.
GSH Depletion to Refine Tumor Cells to Therapy
Cancer cell lines carrying low GSH levels have been proved to be much more
susceptible than control cells to the impact of irradiation. GSH depletion obtained by
BSO, the constant inhibitor of GCL, is the most frequently used approach, correlated
with many chemotherapeutic agents. However, molecular signaling of BSO-induced
apoptosis is poorly known. Recently, it has been explained that in other leukemia cells
and lymphoma cells, the death receptor-mediated apoptotic pathway, caused by arsenic
trioxide plus BSO, is triggered via JNK activation. Furthermore, in neuroblastoma
cells sensitive to BSO treatment, PKC-δ activation and ROS production DNA damage
and apoptosis were activated.
The modulation of cellular GSH is a both-sided-edged weapon employed for potential
therapeutic benefits. Intensifying the capacity of GSH and its associated enzymes to
shield cells from redox-related modifications or environmental toxins depicts a
determined aim in the search for cytoprotective approaches against cancer. On the
contrary, the policy of depleting GSH and GSH-related detoxification pathways is
directed at sensitizing cancer cells to chemotherapy, the so-called chemosensitization.
GSH and GSH enzyme-linked systems may be decisive factors for some tumor
sensitivity to various chemotherapeutic agents. In particular, GST is a suitable
parameter for chemotherapy response, and it may be utilized as a valuable biomarker
for selecting tumors possibly responsive to chemotherapeutic regimens.