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Apoptosis. 2000 Feb;5(1):17-20.

Caspase-dependent and -independent death pathways in cancer therapy.

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Department of Immunology, The Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Ohio 44195, USA.


The majority of current anticancer therapies induce tumor cell death through the induction of apoptosis. Alterations in the apoptotic pathways may determine tumor resistance to these therapies. Activation of the proteolytic cascade involving caspase family members is a critical component of the execution of cell death in apoptotic cells. However, recent studies suggest that cell death can proceed in the absence of caspases. In this review we describe the role of caspase-dependent and -independent pathways as targets for anticancer treatment. A better understanding of diverse modes of tumor cell death will help to avoid ineffective treatment and provide a molecular basis for the new strategies targeting caspase-independent death pathways in apoptosis-resistant forms of cancer.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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