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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2006 Apr;1765(2):101-25. Epub 2005 Dec 27.

Lysosomes and lysosomal proteins in cancer cell death (new players of an old struggle).

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INSERM U466, Laboratoire de Biochimie, Institut Louis Bugnard, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Rangueil, BP 84225, 31432 Toulouse, France.


Death of cancer cells influences tumor development and progression, as well as the response to anticancer therapies. This can occur through different cell death programmes which have recently been shown to implicate components of the acidic organelles, lysosomes. The role of lysosomes and lysosomal enzymes, including cathepsins and some lipid hydrolases, in programmed cell death associated with apoptotic or autophagic phenotypes is presented, as evidenced from observations on cultured cells and living animals. The possible molecular mechanisms that underlie the action of lysosomes during cell death are also described. Finally, the contribution of lysosomal proteins and lysosomes to tumor initiation and progression is discussed. Elucidation of this role and the underlying mechanisms will shed a new light on these 'old' organelles and hopefully pave the way for the development of novel anticancer strategies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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