Mitochondrial apoptosis: killing cancer using the enemy within

Lopez, J. and Tait, S. (2015) Mitochondrial apoptosis: killing cancer using the enemy within. British Journal of Cancer, 112(6), pp. 957-962. (doi: 10.1038/bjc.2015.85) (PMID:25742467) (PMCID:PMC4366906)

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Apoptotic cell death inhibits oncogenesis at multiple stages, ranging from transformation to metastasis. Consequently, in order for cancer to develop and progress, apoptosis must be inhibited. Cell death also plays major roles in cancer treatment, serving as the main effector function of many anti-cancer therapies. In this review, we discuss the role of apoptosis in the development and treatment of cancer. Specifically, we focus upon the mitochondrial pathway of apoptosis—the most commonly deregulated form of cell death in cancer. In this process, mitochondrial outer membrane permeabilisation or MOMP represents the defining event that irrevocably commits a cell to die. We provide an overview of how this pathway is regulated by BCL-2 family proteins and describe ways in which cancer cells can block it. Finally, we discuss exciting new approaches aimed at specifically inducing mitochondrial apoptosis in cancer cells, outlining their potential pitfalls, while highlighting their considerable therapeutic promise.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Tait, Professor Stephen and Lopez, Dr Jonathan
Authors: Lopez, J., and Tait, S.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Cancer Sciences
Journal Name:British Journal of Cancer
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group
ISSN (Online):1532-1827
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2015 Cancer Research UK.
First Published:First published in British Journal of Cancer 112(6):957-962
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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