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Curr Protein Pept Sci. 2010 Sep;11(6):398-408.

Notch signaling proteins: legitimate targets for cancer therapy.

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Department of Pathology, Karmanos Cancer Institute, Wayne State University School of Medicine, 9374 Scott Hall, 540 E Canfield, Detroit, MI 48201, USA.


Proteins and small peptides (growth factors and hormones) are key molecules in maintaining cellular homeostasis. To that end, Notch signaling pathway proteins are known to play critical roles in maintaining the balance between cell proliferation, differentiation and apoptosis, and thus it has been suggested that Notch may be responsible for the development and progression of human malignancies. Therefore, the Notch signaling pathway proteins may present novel therapeutic targets, which could have promising therapeutic impact on eradicating human malignancies. This review describes the role of Notch signaling pathway proteins in cancer and how its deregulation is involved in tumor development and progression leading to metastasis and the ultimate demise of patients diagnosed with cancer. Further, we summarize the role of several Notch inhibitors especially "natural agents" that could represent novel therapeutic strategies targeting Notch signaling toward better treatment outcome of patients diagnosed with cancer.

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