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Apoptosis. 2001 Jun;6(3):191-7.

The potential of TRAIL for cancer chemotherapy.

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Department of Neurosurgery, Kyorin University School of Medicine, Mitaka, Tokyo, Japan.


Innate and acquired resistance to chemotherapy and radiation therapy has been a major obstacle for clinical oncology. One potential adjunct to such conventional treatments is direct induction of cell death by activation of death receptor-mediated apoptosis. TRAIL (tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-related apoptosis inducing ligand), a recently identified member of the growing TNF superfamily, binds to its cognate "death" receptors DR4 and DR5 as well as "decoy" receptors DcR1 and DcR2. Upon binding, rapid apoptosis is enacted in a variety of human cancer cell lines independent of p53 status, but not in normal cell lines. TRAIL treatment results in significant growth suppression of TRAIL-sensitive human cancer xenografts in mice. Furthermore, combination treatment of TRAIL with genotoxic chemotherapeutic agents synergistically suppresses growth of tumor xenografts which are otherwise resistant to treatment with TRAIL or chemotherapy alone. Unlike the other death ligands TNF-alpha or FasL, systemic administration of soluble human TRAIL does not cause toxicity in mice and non-human primates. While further studies are needed to evaluate the possible cytotoxicity of TRAIL especially for human hepatocytes, indications are increasing that TRAIL may be a novel therapeutic agent for human cancer.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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