Nitric Oxide Delivery to Cancer: Why and How?

Eur J Cancer. 2009 May;45(8):1352-69. doi: 10.1016/j.ejca.2008.12.018. Epub 2009 Jan 17.


Hypoxia and blood flow heterogeneities are characteristics of solid tumours and are major obstacles for therapy. Exploiting the biology of nitric oxide (NO), a small radical with multiple functions, is particularly attractive to circumvent these sources of resistance and to sensitise tumour to cytotoxic treatments such as radiotherapy and chemotherapy. Indeed, while NO mediates angiogenic effects, NO may also promote tumour perfusion, drug delivery and oxygenation. Different strategies to deliver NO to tumours and pertaining to the FECS-EJC award laureate's work are reviewed, with a focus on their therapeutic potential. The development of techniques to monitor how and to which extent NO delivery influences the phenotype of a given tumour in a given patient is also discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Hypoxia
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / blood supply
  • Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Neoplasms / therapy
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic
  • Nitric Oxide / metabolism*
  • Nitric Oxide / pharmacology
  • Oxygen / metabolism
  • Perfusion
  • Radiation-Sensitizing Agents / pharmacology
  • Radiation-Sensitizing Agents / therapeutic use
  • Regional Blood Flow
  • Vasodilator Agents / pharmacology
  • Vasodilator Agents / therapeutic use


  • Radiation-Sensitizing Agents
  • Vasodilator Agents
  • Nitric Oxide
  • Oxygen