Cancer and Metastasis Reviews

, Volume 37, Issue 4, pp 733–748 | Cite as

Developing TRAIL/TRAIL death receptor-based cancer therapies

  • Xun Yuan
  • Ambikai Gajan
  • Qian Chu
  • Hua Xiong
  • Kongming Wu
  • Gen Sheng WuEmail author


Tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) is a member of the TNF superfamily that can initiate the apoptosis pathway by binding to its associated death receptors DR4 and DR5. The activation of the TRAIL pathway in inducing tumor-selective apoptosis leads to the development of TRAIL-based cancer therapies, which include recombinant forms of TRAIL, TRAIL receptor agonists, and other therapeutic agents. Importantly, TRAIL, DR4, and DR5 can all be induced by synthetic and natural agents that activate the TRAIL apoptosis pathway in cancer cells. Thus, understanding the regulation of the TRAIL apoptosis pathway can aid in the development of TRAIL-based therapies for the treatment of human cancer.


TRAIL Apoptosis Resistance Cancer therapy 



This work was supported by NIH grant R01 CA174949 to G.S.W., Natural Science Foundation of China #81572608 to K.W., and Wuhan Science and Technology Bureau #2017060201010170 to K.W.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xun Yuan
    • 1
    • 2
  • Ambikai Gajan
    • 2
  • Qian Chu
    • 1
  • Hua Xiong
    • 1
  • Kongming Wu
    • 1
  • Gen Sheng Wu
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Oncology, Tongji Hospital of Tongji Medical CollegeHuazhong University of Science and TechnologyWuhanPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Departments of Oncology and Pathology, Karmanos Cancer InstituteWayne State University School of MedicineDetroitUSA
  3. 3.Molecular Therapeutics Program, Karmanos Cancer Institute, Departments of Oncology and PathologyWayne State University School of MedicineDetroitUSA

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