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World J Gastrointest Oncol. 2010 Nov 15;2(11):399-406. doi: 10.4251/wjgo.v2.i11.399.

Role of apoptosis resistance in immune evasion and metastasis of colorectal cancer.

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  • 1Kebin Liu, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Medical College of Georgia, Georgia Health Sciences University, Augusta, GA 30912, United States.


The host immune system functions as a guardian against tumor development. It has been demonstrated that cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL)-mediated cytotoxic pathways function to inhibit or delay human colorectal cancer development. However, the host anti-tumor immune responses also 'edit' the tumor and select for more aggressive variants, resulting in immune evasion and tumor escape. Fas is a death receptor that mediates one of the major cytotoxic effector mechanisms of the CTLs. Fas is highly expressed in normal human colon epithelial cells but is frequently silenced in colorectal carcinoma, especially in metastatic colorectal carcinoma, suggesting that loss of Fas expression and function may be an immune evasion and tumor escape mechanism. In addition, recent studies indicated that Fas also mediates cellular proliferation signaling pathways to promote tumor development. Therefore, the death receptor Fas may not only transduce death signals to suppress tumor development but also activate cellular proliferation and the migration process to promote tumor growth and progression. Thus, understanding the mechanisms by which the Fas receptor and its associated protein complex transduces the death and survival signals may identify molecular targets for the development of therapeutic strategy to enhance the Fas-mediated death signals to increase the efficacy of cancer immunotherapy.


Apoptosis; Fas; Immune evasion; Metastasis

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