Mitochondrial plasticity in cancer-related muscle wasting: potential approaches for its management

Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care
Rui VitorinoRita Ferreira


Cancer cachexia represents a critical problem in clinical oncology due to its negative impact on patients' quality of life, therapeutic tolerance and survival. This paraneoplasic condition is characterized by significant weight loss mainly from skeletal muscle wasting. Understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying cancer cachexia is urgent in order to develop and apply efficient therapeutic strategies. Mitochondrial dysfunction is an early event in cancer-induced muscle wasting. Decreased ability for ATP synthesis, impaired mitochondrial biogenesis, increased oxidative stress, impairment of protein quality control systems, increased susceptibility to mitophagy and to apoptosis were all shown to mediate contractile dysfunction and wasting in cancer cachexia. Anti-inflammatory therapies as well as exercise training seem to counteract muscle mass loss in part by improving mitochondrial functionality. Given its central role in muscle wasting, mitochondrial plasticity should be viewed as a key therapeutic target for the preservation of muscle mass in cancer cachexia. Few studies have addressed the mitochondrial events modulated by cancer cachexia and contradictory data were reported. Scarcer studies have focused on the mitochond...Continue Reading


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