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Since it was first observed in late 1970s that human cancers often had decreased manganese superoxide dismutase (MnSOD) protein expression and activity, extensive studies have been conducted to verify the association between MnSOD and cancer. Significance of MnSOD as a primary mitochondrial antioxidant enzyme is unquestionable; results from in vitro, in vivo and epidemiological studies are in harmony. On the contrary, studies regarding roles of MnSOD in cancer often report conflicting results. Although putative mechanisms have been proposed to explain how MnSOD regulates cellular proliferation, these mechanisms are not capitulated in epidemiological studies. This review discusses most recent epidemiological and experimental studies that examined the association between MnSOD and cancer, and describes emerging hypotheses of MnSOD as a mitochondrial redox regulatory enzyme and of how altered mitochondrial redox may affect physiology of normal as well as cancer cells.