Crosstalk between calcium and reactive oxygen species signaling in cancer

Cell Calcium. 2017 May;63:70-96. doi: 10.1016/j.ceca.2017.01.007. Epub 2017 Jan 18.


The interplay between Ca2+ and reactive oxygen species (ROS) signaling pathways is well established, with reciprocal regulation occurring at a number of subcellular locations. Many Ca2+ channels at the cell surface and intracellular organelles, including the endoplasmic reticulum and mitochondria are regulated by redox modifications. In turn, Ca2+ signaling can influence the cellular generation of ROS, from sources such as NADPH oxidases and mitochondria. This relationship has been explored in great depth during the process of apoptosis, where surges of Ca2+ and ROS are important mediators of cell death. More recently, coordinated and localized Ca2+ and ROS transients appear to play a major role in a vast variety of pro-survival signaling pathways that may be crucial for both physiological and pathophysiological functions. While much work is required to firmly establish this Ca2+-ROS relationship in cancer, existing evidence from other disease models suggests this crosstalk is likely of significant importance in tumorigenesis. In this review, we describe the regulation of Ca2+ channels and transporters by oxidants and discuss the potential consequences of the ROS-Ca2+ interplay in tumor cells.

Keywords: Calcium channels; Calcium signaling; Cancer; Mitochondria; NADPH oxidase; Reactive oxygen species signaling; Tumorigenesis.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calcium / metabolism*
  • Calcium Signaling / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction


  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Calcium