Recent advances in the role of endogenous hydrogen sulphide in cancer cells

Cell Prolif. 2023 Mar 16;e13449. doi: 10.1111/cpr.13449. Online ahead of print.


Hydrogen sulphide (H2 S) is a gaseous neurotransmitter that can be self-synthesized by living organisms. With the deepening of research, the pathophysiological mechanisms of endogenous H2 S in cancer have been increasingly elucidated: (1) promote angiogenesis, (2) stimulate cell bioenergetics, (3) promote migration and proliferation thereby invasion, (4) inhibit apoptosis and (5) activate abnormal cell cycle. However, the increasing H2 S levels via exogenous sources show the opposite trend. This phenomenon can be explained by the bell-shaped pharmacological model of H2 S, that is, the production of endogenous (low concentration) H2 S promotes tumour growth while the exogenous (high concentration) H2 S inhibits tumour growth. Here, we review the impact of endogenous H2 S synthesis and metabolism on tumour progression, summarize the mechanism of action of H2 S in tumour growth, and discuss the possibility of H2 S as a potential target for tumour treatment.

Publication types

  • Review