ROS (reactive oxygen species) have long been regarded as a series of destructive molecules that have a detrimental effect on cell homoeostasis. In support of this are the myriad antioxidant defence systems nearly all eukaryotic cells have that are designed to keep the levels of ROS in check. However, research data emerging over the last decade have demonstrated that ROS can influence a range of cellular events in a manner similar to that seen for traditional second messenger molecules such as cAMP. Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) appears to be the main ROS with such signalling properties, and this molecule has been shown to affect a wide range of cellular functions. Its localized synthesis by the Nox (NADPH oxidase) family of enzymes and how these enzymes are regulated is of particular interest to those who work in the field of tumour biology.

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