Nitric oxide: Protein tyrosine phosphorylation and protein S-nitrosylation in cancer

Biomed J. 2015 Sep-Oct;38(5):380-8. doi: 10.4103/2319-4170.158624.


Cancer is a worldwide health problem leading to a high incidence of morbidity and mortality. Malignant transformation can occur by expression of oncogenes, over-expression and deregulated activation of proto-oncogenes, and inactivation of tumor suppressor genes. These cellular actions occur through stimulation of oncogenic signaling pathways. Nitric oxide (NO) can induce genetic changes in cells and its intracellular generation can lead to tumor formation and progression. It can also promote anti-tumor activities. The pro- and anti-tumor activities of NO are dependent on its intracellular concentration, cell compartmentalization, and cell sensitivity. NO affects a number of oncogenic signaling pathways. This review focuses on two oncogenic signaling pathways: NO-EGFR-Src-FAK and NO-Ras-EGFR-ERK1/2 MAP kinases. In these pathways, low to intermediate concentrations of NO/S-nitrosothiols (RSNOs) stimulate oncogenic signaling, while high concentrations of NO/RSNO stimulate anti-oncogenic signaling. Increasing knowledge on pro- and anti-tumorigenic activities of NO and related reactive species such as RSNOs has fostered the research and synthesis of novel NO-based chemotherapeutic agents. RSNOs, effective as NO donors and trans-nitrosylating agents under appropriate conditions, may operate as potential chemotherapeutic agents.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Neoplasms / therapy
  • Nitric Oxide / metabolism*
  • Phosphorylation
  • Protein S / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*
  • Tyrosine / metabolism*


  • Protein S
  • Nitric Oxide
  • Tyrosine