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Chem Res Toxicol. 2011 Oct 17;24(10):1610-6. doi: 10.1021/tx2002349. Epub 2011 Jul 21.

Harnessing tumor necrosis factor receptors to enhance antitumor activities of drugs.

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  • 1Liver Research Unit, Instituto Maimónides para la Investigación Biomédica de Córdoba, Reina Sofia University Hospital , Córdoba, Spain.


Cancer is the second-leading cause of death in the U.S. behind heart disease and over stroke. The hallmarks of cancer comprise six biological capabilities acquired during the multistep development of human tumors. The inhibition of cell death pathways is one of these tumor characteristics which also include sustained proliferative signaling, evading growth suppressor signaling, replicative immortality, angiogenesis, and promotion of invasion and metastasis. Cell death is mediated through death receptor (DR) stimulation initiated by specific ligands that transmit signaling to the cell death machinery or through the participation of mitochondria. Cell death involving DR is mediated by the superfamily of tumor necrosis factor receptor (TNF-R) which includes TNF-R type I, CD95, DR3, TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) receptor-1 (TRAIL-R1) and -2 (TRAIL-R2), DR6, ectodysplasin A (EDA) receptor (EDAR), and the nerve growth factor (NGF) receptor (NGFR). The expression of these receptors in healthy and tumor cells induces treatment side effects that limit the systemic administration of cell death-inducing therapies. The present review is focused on the different therapeutic strategies such as targeted antibodies or small molecules addressed to selective stimulated DR-mediated apoptosis or reduce cell proliferation in cancer cells.

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