Mitochondrial Dysfunction and Redox Imbalance as a Diagnostic Marker of "Free Radical Diseases"

Anticancer Res. 2017 Oct;37(10):5373-5381. doi: 10.21873/anticanres.11963.


The intracellular redox balance (redox status) is a dynamic system that may change via many factors. Mitochondria are one of the most important among them. These organelles are the main intracellular source of energy. They are essential for maintaining cellular homeostasis due to regulation of many biochemical processes. The mitochondrial dynamics change during cellular activities and in some cases, can cause an overproduction of reactive oxygen species (ROS), which encourages the induction of oxidative DNA damage and up- or down-regulation of phosphatases, proliferative/anti-proliferative factors, apoptotic/anti-apoptotic factors, etc. Moreover, mitochondrial dysfunction and redox imbalance can continuously support and contribute to a wide range of pathologies, termed as "free radical diseases" (e.g., cancer, neurodegeneration, atherosclerosis, inflammation, etc.). This review article is focused on the mitochondrial dysfunction and cellular redox status as a hallmark of cell homeostasis and diagnostic marker of cancer. It is intended to broad readership - from students to specialists in the field.

Keywords: Mitochondrial dysfunction; free radical diseases; redox status; review.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / metabolism
  • Free Radicals / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Mitochondria / metabolism*
  • Mitochondria / pathology
  • Mitochondrial Diseases / metabolism*
  • Mitochondrial Diseases / pathology
  • Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Oxidative Stress*
  • Reactive Nitrogen Species / metabolism
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction


  • Antioxidants
  • Free Radicals
  • Reactive Nitrogen Species
  • Reactive Oxygen Species