Expression dynamics of heme oxygenase-1 in tumor cells and the host contributes to the progression of tumors

Jun Fang*, Rayhanul Islam, Shanghui Gao, Cheng Zhang, Ryotaro Kunisaki, Shogo Sakaguchi, Naoya Honda, Jian-Rong Zhou, Kazumi Yokomizo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
26 Downloads (Pure)


Heme oxygenase (HO-1) plays an important role in cellular protection against various stresses. The induction of HO-1 is an effective strategy for reactive oxygen species-related diseases, inflammatory diseases, as well as suppressing carcinogenesis. On the other hand, the high expression of HO-1 is now well known in many tumors. In this study, we investigated the dynamics of HO-1 expression in the host and the tumor. In the mouse sarcoma S180 solid tumor model and the rat hepatoma AH136B ascitic tumor model, HO-1 expression in the tumor, as indicated by the end product of HO-1 activation, i.e., carbon monoxide, gradually increased along with tumor growth. Over-expression of HO-1 expression in mouse colon cancer C26 tumor cells significantly promoted tumor growth as well as lung metastasis, whereas opposite results were found when the HO-1 expression was reduced in the cells. On the other hand, upregulating HO-1 levels in the host by using an HO-1 inducer protected the progression of the xenograft tumor in mice, whereas lowering HO-1 expression in the host with an HO-1 inhibitor showed accelerated tumor growth and lung metastasis after subcutaneous tumor xenograft inoculation. These findings strongly suggest that the balance of HO-1 levels in the host and the tumor cells is essential for the occurrence, progression, and prognosis of cancer. Maintenance of appropriately high HO-1 levels in the host is favorable for cancer prevention, whereas suppression of HO-1 in the tumor cells may thus become a therapeutic strategy for cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1340
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Personalized Medicine
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 09 Dec 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Carbon monoxide
  • Carcinogenesis
  • Heme oxygenase-1
  • Tumor progression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)


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