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Nrf2, A Target for Precision Oncology in Cancer Prognosis and Treatment.

Activating nuclear factor-erythroid 2-related factor (Nrf2), a master regulator of redox homeostasis, has been shown to suppress initiation of carcinogenesis in normal cells. However, this transcription factor has recently been reported to promote proliferation of some transformed or cancerous cells. In tumor cells, Nrf2 is prone to mutations that result in stabilization and concurrent accumulation of its protein product. A hyperactivated mutant form of Nrf2 could support the cancer cells for enhanced proliferation, invasiveness, and resistance to chemotherapeutic agents and radiotherapy, which are associated with a poor clinical outcome. Hence understanding mutations in Nrf2 would have a significant impact on the prognosis and treatment of cancer in the era of precision medicine. This perspective would provide an insight into the genetic alterations in Nrf2 and suggest the application of small molecules, RNAi, and genome editing technologies, particularly CRISR-Cas9, in therapeutic intervention of cancer in the context of the involvement of Nrf2 mutations.

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