Extracellular Glutathione Peroxidase GPx3 and Its Role in Cancer

Cancers (Basel). 2020 Aug 6;12(8):2197. doi: 10.3390/cancers12082197.


Mammalian cells possess a multifaceted antioxidant enzyme system, which includes superoxide dismutases, catalase, the peroxiredoxin/thioredoxin and the glutathione peroxidase systems. The dichotomous role of reactive oxygen species and antioxidant enzymes in tumorigenesis and cancer progression complicates the use of small molecule antioxidants, pro-oxidants, and targeting of antioxidant enzymes as therapeutic approaches for cancer treatment. It also highlights the need for additional studies to investigate the role and regulation of these antioxidant enzymes in cancer. The focus of this review is on glutathione peroxidase 3 (GPx3), a selenoprotein, and the only extracellular GPx of a family of oxidoreductases that catalyze the detoxification of hydro- and soluble lipid hydroperoxides by reduced glutathione. In addition to summarizing the biochemical function, regulation, and disease associations of GPx3, we specifically discuss the role and regulation of systemic and tumor cell expressed GPx3 in cancer. From this it is evident that GPx3 has a dichotomous role in different tumor types, acting as both a tumor suppressor and pro-survival protein. Further studies are needed to examine how loss or gain of GPx3 specifically affects oxidant scavenging and redox signaling in the extracellular tumor microenvironment, and how GPx3 might be targeted for therapeutic intervention.

Keywords: GPx-P; GPx3; antioxidant enzymes; cancer; eGPx; extracellular glutathione peroxidase; glutathione; oxidative stress; reactive oxygen species; redox signaling; selenoproteins.

Publication types

  • Review