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Nutrients  2013 

Intestinal Iron Homeostasis and Colon Tumorigenesis

DOI: 10.3390/nu5072333

Keywords: iron, colorectal cancer, divalent metal transporter-1 (DMT-1), hepcidin, HIF, ferroportin (FPN)

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Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third most common cause of cancer-related deaths in industrialized countries. Understanding the mechanisms of growth and progression of CRC is essential to improve treatment. Iron is an essential nutrient for cell growth. Iron overload caused by hereditary mutations or excess dietary iron uptake has been identified as a risk factor for CRC. Intestinal iron is tightly controlled by iron transporters that are responsible for iron uptake, distribution, and export. Dysregulation of intestinal iron transporters are observed in CRC and lead to iron accumulation in tumors. Intratumoral iron results in oxidative stress, lipid peroxidation, protein modification and DNA damage with consequent promotion of oncogene activation. In addition, excess iron in intestinal tumors may lead to increase in tumor-elicited inflammation and tumor growth. Limiting intratumoral iron through specifically chelating excess intestinal iron or modulating activities of iron transporter may be an attractive therapeutic target for CRC.


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