Mitochondrial Transfer in Cancer: A Comprehensive Review
International Journal of Molecular Sciences
Depending on their tissue of origin, genetic and epigenetic marks and microenvironmental influences, cancer cells cover a broad range of metabolic activities that fluctuate over time and space. At the core of most metabolic pathways, mitochondria are essential organelles that participate in energy and biomass production, act as metabolic sensors, control cancer cell death, and initiate signaling pathways related to cancer cell migration, invasion, metastasis and resistance to treatments. While
... treatments. While some mitochondrial modifications provide aggressive advantages to cancer cells, others are detrimental. This comprehensive review summarizes the current knowledge about mitochondrial transfers that can occur between cancer and nonmalignant cells. Among different mechanisms comprising gap junctions and cell-cell fusion, tunneling nanotubes are increasingly recognized as a main intercellular platform for unidirectional and bidirectional mitochondrial exchanges. Understanding their structure and functionality is an important task expected to generate new anticancer approaches aimed at interfering with gains of functions (e.g., cancer cell proliferation, migration, invasion, metastasis and chemoresistance) or damaged mitochondria elimination associated with mitochondrial transfer.