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Savvidis, C., & Koutsilieris, M. (2012). Circadian rhythm disruption in cancer biology. Mol Med, 18, 1249–1260.
Abstract: Circadian rhythms show universally a 24-h oscillation pattern in metabolic, physiological and behavioral functions of almost all species. This pattern is due to a fundamental adaptation to the rotation of Earth around its own axis. Molecular mechanisms of generation of circadian rhythms organize a biochemical network in suprachiasmatic nucleus and peripheral tissues, building cell autonomous clock pacemakers. Rhythmicity is observed in transcriptional expression of a wide range of clock-controlled genes that regulate a variety of normal cell functions, such as cell division and proliferation. Desynchrony of this rhythmicity seems to be implicated in several pathologic conditions, including tumorigenesis and progression of cancer. In 2007, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) categorized “shiftwork that involves circadian disruption [as] probably carcinogenic to humans” (Group 2A in the IARC classification system of carcinogenic potency of an agentagent) (Painting, Firefighting, and Shiftwork; IARC; 2007). This review discusses the potential relation between disruptions of normal circadian rhythms with genetic driving machinery of cancer. Elucidation of the role of clockwork disruption, such as exposure to light at night and sleep disruption, in cancer biology could be important in developing new targeted anticancer therapies, optimizing individualized chronotherapy and modifying lighting environment in workplaces or homes.