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Apoptosis. 2009 Apr;14(4):584-96. doi: 10.1007/s10495-008-0300-z.

Bcl2 family proteins in carcinogenesis and the treatment of cancer.

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Biocenter Division of Developmental Immunology, Innsbruck Medical University, Innsbruck, Austria.


Deregulation of Bcl2 family members is a frequent feature of human malignant diseases and causal for therapy resistance. A number of studies have recently shed light onto the role of pro- and anti-apoptotic Bcl2 family members in tumour-pathogenesis and in mediating the effects of classical as well as novel front-line anticancer agents, allowing the development of more efficient and more precisely targeted treatment regimens. Most excitingly, recent progress in our understanding of how Bcl2-like proteins maintain or perturb mitochondrial integrity has finally enabled the development of rational-design based anticancer therapies that directly target Bcl2 regulated events at the level of mitochondria. This review aims to give an overview on the most recent findings on the role of the Bcl2 family in tumour development in model systems of cancer, to relate these findings with observations made in human pathologies and drug-action.

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