Mitochondrial chaperones in cancer: from molecular biology to clinical diagnostics

Cancer Biol Ther. 2006 Jul;5(7):714-20. doi: 10.4161/cbt.5.7.2975. Epub 2006 Jul 1.


Mitochondria are cell organelles involved in processes of cell life and death, and therefore also in tumoral transformation. Indeed, mitochondria dysfunction is a prominent feature of cancer cells. Mitochondrial proteins and DNA have also been previously studied as markers of tumorigenesis. Heat shock proteins (HSPs) are ubiquitous evolutionary conserved proteins. HSPs enhance their expression in stressed cells and they are involved in gene expression regulation, DNA replication, signal transduction, differentiation, apoptosis, cellular senescence or immortalization. This review reflects recent views on the role of some mitochondrial molecular chaperones as prohibitin, mortalin and HSP60/HSP10 complex and their modifications leading to cell transformation and cancer development. These molecules could represent modern molecular biomarkers for oncological management.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / metabolism*
  • Heat-Shock Proteins / analysis
  • Heat-Shock Proteins / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Mitochondria / metabolism*
  • Mitochondrial Proteins / metabolism*
  • Molecular Chaperones / metabolism*
  • Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Neoplasms / metabolism*


  • Heat-Shock Proteins
  • Mitochondrial Proteins
  • Molecular Chaperones