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Postepy Hig Med Dosw (Online). 2008 Feb 14;62:55-63.

[The role of the inhibitor of apoptosis protein (IAP) family in hematological malignancies].

[Article in Polish]

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  • 1Katedra i Klinika Hematologii Uniwersytetu Medycznego w Łodzi.


The apoptotic mode of cell death is a major regulatory process in all complex organisms. The low proliferative index and slow accumulation of malignant cells in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), the most frequent type of leukemia in Europe and North America, suggests that the disease is caused by a defect in apoptosis regulation. Classical apoptosis is executed through the activation of caspases, cysteine proteases which are regulated by a number of pro- and anti-apoptotic proteins. One such checkpoint is the control of caspase activation by a relatively new family of inhibitor of apoptosis proteins (IAPs). They block both the mitochondrial-dependent and -independent apoptotic pathways. The IAP family inhibits apoptosis by binding to specific caspases and possibly by other mechanisms. They also participate in the regulation of cellular and intracellular signal transduction. Six human IAPs have been identified: XIAP, cIAP1, cIAP2, NAIP, livin, and survivin. Because of their important role in regulating apoptosis, IAPs are being investigated as a potential prognostic factor as well as a treatment target in cancer patients. Overexpression of several IAPs has been detected in various hematological malignancies, including acute leukemias, myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), and many types of lymphoid malignancies, such as chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL). Many publications revealed significant correlation between a high level of IAPs, especially of XIAP and survivin, and tumor progression. It seems that overexpression of XIAP in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and survivin in acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and DLBCL could become a new unfavorable prognostic factor. Many studies are now concentrating on evaluating the expression and significance of the other proteins of the IAP family. In this paper the current knowledge of the importance of IAPs in hematological malignancies is presented.

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