, Volume 21, Issue 5, pp 273–297 | Cite as

Cutting-Edge Apoptosis-Based Therapeutics

A Panacea for Cancer?
  • Ute Fischer
  • Katja Janssen
  • Klaus Schulze-Osthoff
Drug Development


Defects in programmed cell death or apoptosis are major hallmarks of cancer contributing to tumorigenesis, tumor progression, and therapy resistance. In the past decade, many of the pathways leading to apoptosis, as well as the molecular mechanisms blocking the death of tumor cells, have been elucidated. This detailed knowledge of the core apoptosis machinery is now being exploited for translation into novel cancer therapies in order to restore apoptosis induction in tumor cells. Strategies include activation of proapoptotic mediators such as death receptors, tumor protein p53, and second mitochondria-derived activator of caspases (SMAC)/DIABLO as well as inhibition of endogenous apoptosis inhibitors such as IAPs (inhibitor of apoptosis proteins) and BCL-2 (B-cell chronic lymphoid leukemia/lymphoma) proteins. Several approaches employing gene therapy and antisense strategies, recombinant biologics, or classic organic and combinatorial chemistry, have advanced into clinical trials or are already approved. This review looks at recent developments in apoptosis-based cancer therapies and highlights some very promising advances in drug design.


Death Receptor Protein Transduction Domain BIR3 Domain Soluble Trail Market Authorization Application 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This work was supported by the Deutsche Krebshilfe, the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, and the Forschungskommission of the Medical Faculty of the University of Dusseldorf.

The authors have no conflicts of interest that are directly relevant to the content of this review.


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Copyright information

© Adis Data Information BV 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ute Fischer
    • 1
  • Katja Janssen
    • 1
  • Klaus Schulze-Osthoff
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Molecular MedicineUniversity of DüsseldorfDüsseldorfGermany

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