Urological cancers include a spectrum of malignancies affecting organs of the reproductive and/or urinary systems, such as prostate, kidney, bladder, and testis. Despite improved primary prevention, detection and treatment, urological cancers are still characterized by an increasing incidence and mortality worldwide and although advances have been made toward understanding the molecular basis of these diseases, a complete insight of the pathogenic mechanisms is still a research challenge for defining safer pharmacological therapies and prognostic factors, especially for the metastatic stage of these neoplasms for which no effective therapies exist. Glyoxalases are enzymes that catalyzes the glutathione-dependent metabolism of cytotoxic methylglyoxal (MG), thus protecting against cellular damage and apoptosis. They are generally overexpressed in numerous cancers as a survival strategy by providing a safeguard through enhancement of MG detoxification. Increasing evidence suggest that glyoxalases, especially Glo1, would act as oncogenes in urological malignancies and be central to their initiation, growth and progression. In this review, we highlight the critical role of glyoxalases as regulators of tumorigenesis in the prostate through modulation of various critical signaling pathways, and provide an overview of the current knowledge on glyoxalases in bladder, kidney and testis cancers. We also discuss the promise and challenges for Glo1 inhibitors as future anti-PCa therapeutics and the potential of glyoxalases as biomarkers for PCa diagnosis.
Glyoxalases; urological malignancies; prostate cancer; kidney cancer; bladder cancer testicular cancer
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