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Leukemia. 2001 Jul;15(7):1011-21.

Suppression of apoptosis: role in cell growth and neoplasia.

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Department of Pathology, Anatomy and Cell Biology, The Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA 19107, USA.


A cell is a potentially dangerous thing. In unicellular organisms, cells divide and multiply in a manner that is chiefly determined by the availability of nutritional substrates. In a multicellular organism, each cell has a distinct growth potential that is designed to subsume a role in the function of the whole body. Departure from this path to one of uncontrolled cellular proliferation leads to cancer. For this reason, evolution has endowed cells with an elaborate set of systems that cause errant cells to self-destruct. This process of cell suicide is known as apoptosis or programmed cell death and it plays a crucial role in the growth of both normal and malignant cells. In this review, we describe the mechanisms whereby programmed cell death is induced and executed. In particular, we concentrate on how anti-apoptotic signals generated by cytokines promote cell survival and how these signal transduction pathways may be involved in the pathogenesis of neoplasia. Understanding how these processes contribute to tumorigenesis may suggest new therapeutic options.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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