Targeting nitric oxide for cancer therapy


School of Pharmacy, Queen's University Belfast, 97 Lisburn Road, Belfast BT9 7BL, UK. E-mail:


A blueprint for the ideal anticancer molecule would include most of the properties of nitric oxide (NO), but the ability to exploit these characteristics in a therapeutic setting requires a detailed understanding of the biology and biochemistry of the molecule. These properties include the ability of NO to affect tumour angiogenesis, metastasis, blood flow and immuno surveillance. Furthermore NO also has the potential to enhance both radio- and chemotherapy. However, all of these strategies are dependent on achieving appropriate levels of NO, since endogenous levels of NO appear to have a clear role in tumour progression. This review aims to summarize the role of NO in cancer with particular emphasis on how the properties of NO can be exploited for therapy.