We review here the evidence for participation of mitochondrial autoimmunity in BC inception and progression and propose a new paradigm that may challenge the prevailing thinking in oncogenesis by suggesting that mitochondrial autoimmunity is a major contributor to breast carcinogenesis and probably to the inception and progression of other solid tumors. It has been shown that MNRR1 mediated mitochondrial-nuclear function promotes BC cell growth and migration and the development of metastasis and constitutes a proof of concept supporting the participation of mitochondrial autoimmunity in breast carcinogenesis. The resemblance of the autoantibody profile in BC detected by IFA with that in the rheumatic autoimmune diseases suggested that studies on the autoantibody response to tumor associated antigens and the characterization of the mtDNA- and nDNA-encoded antigens may provide functional data on breast carcinogenesis. We also review the studies supporting the view that a panel of autoreactive nDNAencoded mitochondrial antigens in addition to MNRR1 may be involved in breast carcinogenesis. These include GAPDH, PKM2, GSTP1, SPATA5, MFF, ncRNA PINK1-AS/DDOST as probably contributing to BC progression and metastases and the evidence suggesting that DDX21 orchestrates a complex signaling network with participation of JUND and ATF3 driving chronic inflammation and breast tumorigenesis. We suggest that the widespread autoreactivity of mtDNA- and nDNA-encoded mitochondrial proteins found in BC sera may be the reflection of autoimmunity triggered by mitochondrial and non-mitochondrial tumor associated antigens involved in multiple tumorigenic pathways. Furthermore, we suggest that mitochondrial proteins may contribute to mitochondrial dysfunction in BC even if mitochondrial respiration is found to be within normal limits. However, although the studies show that mitochondrial autoimmunity is a major factor in breast cancer inception and progression, it is not the only factor since there is a multiplex autoantibody profile targeting centrosome and stem cell antigens as well as anti-idiotypic antibodies, revealing the complex signaling network involved in breast carcinogenesis. In summary, the studies reviewed here open new, unexpected therapeutic avenues for cancer prevention and treatment of patients with cancer derived from an entirely new perspective of breast carcinogenesis.
MNRR1, Mitochondrial autoimmunity, Autoimmune tissue damage, Chronic inflammation, Breast carcinogenesis