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Nat Rev Cancer. 2011 Dec 8;12(1):58-67. doi: 10.1038/nrc3171.

Programmed cell removal: a new obstacle in the road to developing cancer.

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Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine and Cancer Institute, Division of Haematology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Lokey Stem Cell Research Building, 265 Campus Drive, Stanford, California 94305, USA.


The development of cancer involves mechanisms by which aberrant cells overcome normal regulatory pathways that limit their numbers and their migration. The evasion of programmed cell death is one of several key early events that need to be overcome in the progression from normal cellular homeostasis to malignant transformation. Recently, we provided evidence in mouse and human cancers that successful cancer clones must also overcome programmed cell removal. In this Opinion article, we explore the role of programmed cell removal in both normal and neoplastic cells, and we place this pathway in the context of the initiation of programmed cell death.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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