Thioredoxin signaling as a target for cancer therapy

Curr Opin Pharmacol. 2007 Aug;7(4):392-7. doi: 10.1016/j.coph.2007.04.003. Epub 2007 Jul 3.


Thioredoxin (Trx) family members play critical roles in the regulation of cellular redox homeostasis. Cancer cells exist in a stressed environment and rely on the Trxs for protection against stress-disregulated redox signaling. The most extensively studied member of the family is Trx-1 whose levels are increased in many human cancers most likely in direct response to stress. Trx-1 contributes to many of the hallmarks of cancer including increased proliferation, resistance to cell death and increased angiogenesis. Trx-1 is a validated cancer drug target associated with aggressive tumor growth, resistance to standard therapy and decreased patient survival. A surrogate target for Trx-1 may be thioredoxin reductase (TR). Drugs that inhibit Trx-1 and TR are in clinical development with early promising results.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Drug Delivery Systems
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Neoplasms / physiopathology
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Thioredoxin-Disulfide Reductase / drug effects*
  • Thioredoxin-Disulfide Reductase / metabolism
  • Thioredoxins / drug effects*
  • Thioredoxins / metabolism


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • TXN protein, human
  • Thioredoxins
  • Thioredoxin-Disulfide Reductase