The multifaceted functions of sirtuins in cancer

Nat Rev Cancer. 2015 Oct;15(10):608-24. doi: 10.1038/nrc3985. Epub 2015 Sep 18.


The sirtuins (SIRTs; of which there are seven in mammals) are NAD(+)-dependent enzymes that regulate a large number of cellular pathways and forestall the progression of ageing and age-associated diseases. In recent years, the role of sirtuins in cancer biology has become increasingly apparent, and growing evidence demonstrates that sirtuins regulate many processes that go awry in cancer cells, such as cellular metabolism, the regulation of chromatin structure and the maintenance of genomic stability. In this article, we review recent advances in our understanding of how sirtuins affect cancer metabolism, DNA repair and the tumour microenvironment and how activating or inhibiting sirtuins may be important in preventing or treating cancer.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • DNA Repair / physiology
  • DNA, Neoplasm / physiology
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / enzymology*
  • Sirtuins / physiology*
  • Tumor Microenvironment / physiology


  • DNA, Neoplasm
  • Sirtuins