Apoptosis in cancer: From pathogenesis to treatment

Division of Human Biology, School of Medical and Health Sciences, International Medical University, No. 126, Jalan Jalil Perkasa 19, Bukit Jalil 57000 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Journal of Experimental & Clinical Cancer Research (Impact Factor: 4.43). 09/2011; 30(1):87. DOI: 10.1186/1756-9966-30-87
Source: PubMed


Apoptosis is an ordered and orchestrated cellular process that occurs in physiological and pathological conditions. It is also one of the most studied topics among cell biologists. An understanding of the underlying mechanism of apoptosis is important as it plays a pivotal role in the pathogenesis of many diseases. In some, the problem is due to too much apoptosis, such as in the case of degenerative diseases while in others, too little apoptosis is the culprit. Cancer is one of the scenarios where too little apoptosis occurs, resulting in malignant cells that will not die. The mechanism of apoptosis is complex and involves many pathways. Defects can occur at any point along these pathways, leading to malignant transformation of the affected cells, tumour metastasis and resistance to anticancer drugs. Despite being the cause of problem, apoptosis plays an important role in the treatment of cancer as it is a popular target of many treatment strategies. The abundance of literature suggests that targeting apoptosis in cancer is feasible. However, many troubling questions arise with the use of new drugs or treatment strategies that are designed to enhance apoptosis and critical tests must be passed before they can be used safely in human subjects.

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Available from: Rebecca Shin Yee Wong, May 27, 2014
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    • "Through binding on DNA damaged structures, PARP-1 recruits repair enzymes and serves as a survival factor (Diamantopoulos et al., 2014). The caspase family and Bcl-2 family play important roles in the regulation of apoptosis (Wong, 2011). Caspases play the central role in the transduction of death receptor apoptotic signals. "
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    • "So the BPF would appear to modulate the expression of anti-apoptotic members at the expense of apoptotic members, and thereby prevent intestinal cell apoptosis. An overexpression of Bax in association with an underexpression of Bcl2 leads to apoptosis in the affected cells (Wong, 2011 and Andersen and Kornbluth, 2013). This event is a protective mechanism used by cells to regulate proliferation, which occurs at a reduced rate in a healthy small intestine (Yeoh et al., 2007). "
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    • "Apoptosis is an orchestrated process of programmed cell death in vertebrates that plays a central role in development and homeostasis, whereas necrosis is the form of cell injury that results in the premature death of cells in living tissue. The mechanism of apoptosis is complex and involves many pathways (Wong, 2011). Morphologically, dying cells differ vastly from viable cells in several aspects (Kroemer et al., 2005). "
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