NRF2, cancer and calorie restriction

Oncogene. 2011 Feb 3;30(5):505-20. doi: 10.1038/onc.2010.492. Epub 2010 Nov 8.


The transcription factor NF-E2-related factor (NRF2) is a key regulator of several enzymatic pathways, including cytoprotective enzymes in highly metabolic organs. In this review, we summarize the ongoing research related to NRF2 activity in cancer development, focusing on in vivo studies using NRF2 knockout (KO) mice, which have helped in defining the crucial role of NRF2 in chemoprevention. The lower cancer protection observed in NRF2 KO mice under calorie restriction (CR) suggests that most of the beneficial effects of CR on the carcinogenesis process are likely mediated by NRF2. We propose that future interventions in cancer treatment would be carried out through the activation of NRF2 in somatic cells, which will lead to a delay or prevention of the onset of some forms of human cancers, and subsequently an extension of health- and lifespan.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Caloric Restriction*
  • Cell Nucleus / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Models, Biological
  • NF-E2-Related Factor 2 / genetics
  • NF-E2-Related Factor 2 / metabolism*
  • Neoplasms / genetics
  • Neoplasms / metabolism*


  • NF-E2-Related Factor 2