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Effects of Combined EMF Exposures and Co-Exposures

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Front. Public Health | doi: 10.3389/fpubh.2018.00033

Extremely-low frequency magnetic fields and redox-responsive pathways linked to cancer drug-resistance: insights from co-exposure-based in vitro studies

 Stefano Falone1*,  Silvano J. Santini1,  Valeria Cordone1, Giovanna Di Emidio1, Carla Tatone1, Marisa Cacchio2 and  Fernanda Amicarelli1, 3
  • 1Dept. of Life, Health and Environmental Sciences, University of L'Aquila, Italy
  • 2Dept. of Neurosciences, Imaging and Clinical Sciences, Università degli Studi "G. d'Annunzio" Chieti - Pescara, Italy
  • 3Translational Pharmacology Institute (IFT), National Council of Research (CNR), Italy

Electrical devices currently used in clinical practice and common household equipments generate extremely low frequency magnetic fields (ELF-MF) that were classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) as ‘possible carcinogenic’. Assuming that ELF-MF plays a role in the carcinogenic process without inducing direct genomic alterations, ELF-MF may be involved in the promotion or progression of cancers. In particular, ELF-MF-induced responses are suspected to activate redox-responsive intracellular signaling or detoxification scavenging systems. In fact, improved protection against oxidative stress and redox-active xenobiotics is thought to provide critical proliferative and survival advantage in tumors. On this basis, an ever-growing research activity worldwide is attempting to establish whether tumor cells may develop multidrug resistance (MDR) through the activation of essential cytoprotective networks in the presence of ELF fields, and how this might trigger relevant changes in tumor phenotype. This review builds a framework around how the activity of redox-responsive mediators may be controlled by co-exposure to ELF-MF and reactive oxygen species (ROS)-generating agents in tumor and cancer cells, in order to clarify whether and how such potential molecular targets could help to minimize or neutralize the functional interaction between ELF-MF and malignancies.

Keywords: ELF-MF, Cancer, Tumor Cells, Cultured, chemoresistance, redox signaling, reactive oxygen species (ROS), Glutathione, catalase/peroxidase enzymes, cancer stem cells (CSCs), Apoptosis, Cytotoxicity, Genotoxicity

Received: 09 Oct 2017; Accepted: 30 Jan 2018.

Edited by:

Maria Rosaria Scarfì, Consiglio Nazionale Delle Ricerche (CNR), Italy

Reviewed by:

Rony Seger, Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel
Luciano Tarricone, University of Salento, Italy
Serena Fiocchi, Institute of Electronics, Computer and Telecommunication Engineering (CNR), Italy  

Copyright: © 2018 Falone, Santini, Cordone, Di Emidio, Tatone, Cacchio and Amicarelli. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: PhD. Stefano Falone, University of L'Aquila, Dept. of Life, Health and Environmental Sciences, L'Aquila, Italy,