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Cell. 2007 Sep 21;130(6):1005-18.

Heat shock factor 1 is a powerful multifaceted modifier of carcinogenesis.

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Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, Cambridge, MA 02142, USA.


Heat shock factor 1 (HSF1) is the master regulator of the heat shock response in eukaryotes, a very highly conserved protective mechanism. HSF1 function increases survival under a great many pathophysiological conditions. How it might be involved in malignancy remains largely unexplored. We report that eliminating HSF1 protects mice from tumors induced by mutations of the RAS oncogene or a hot spot mutation in the tumor suppressor p53. In cell culture, HSF1 supports malignant transformation by orchestrating a network of core cellular functions including proliferation, survival, protein synthesis, and glucose metabolism. The striking effects of HSF1 on oncogenic transformation are not limited to mouse systems or tumor initiation; human cancer lines of diverse origins show much greater dependence on HSF1 function to maintain proliferation and survival than their nontransformed counterparts. While it enhances organismal survival and longevity under most circumstances, HSF1 has the opposite effect in supporting the lethal phenomenon of cancer.

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