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[en] The ability to escape apoptosis or programmed cell death is a hallmark of human cancers, for example pancreatic cancer. This can promote tumorigenesis, since too little cell death by apoptosis disturbs tissue homeostasis. Additionally, defective apoptosis signaling is the underlying cause of failure to respond to current treatment approaches, since therapy-mediated antitumor activity requires the intactness of apoptosis signaling pathways in cancer cells. Thus, the elucidation of defects in the regulation of apoptosis in pancreatic carcinoma can result in the identification of novel targets for therapeutic interference and for exploitation for cancer drug discovery
[en] Recently, several members of a vertebrate protein family containing a six trans-membrane (6TM) domain and involved in apoptosis and cancer (e.g. STEAP, STAMP1, TSAP6), have been identified in Golgi and cytoplasmic membranes. The exact function of these proteins remains unknown. We related this 6TM domain to distant protein families using intermediate sequences and methods of iterative profile sequence similarity search. Here we show for the first time that this 6TM domain is homolog to the 6TM heme binding domain of both the NADPH oxidase (Nox) family and the YedZ family of bacterial oxidoreductases. This finding gives novel insights about the existence of a previously undetected electron transfer system involved in apoptosis and cancer, and suggests further steps in the experimental characterization of these evolutionarily related families
[en] Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer death. Gemcitabine is widely used as a chemotherapeutic agent for the treatment of pancreatic cancer, but the prognosis is still poor. Berberine, an isoquinoline alkaloid extracted from a variety of natural herbs, possesses a variety of pharmacological properties including anticancer effects. In this study, we investigated the anticancer effects of berberine and compared its use with that of gemcitabine in the pancreatic cancer cell lines PANC-1 and MIA-PaCa2. Berberine inhibited cell growth in a dose-dependent manner by inducing cell cycle arrest and apoptosis. After berberine treatment, the G1 phase of PANC-1 cells increased by 10% compared to control cells, and the G1 phase of MIA-PaCa2 cells was increased by 2%. Whereas gemcitabine exerts antiproliferation effects through S-phase arrest, our results showed that berberine inhibited proliferation by inducing G1-phase arrest. Berberine-induced apoptosis of PANC-1 and MIA-PaCa2 cells increased by 7 and 2% compared to control cells, respectively. Notably, berberine had a greater apoptotic effect in PANC-1 cells than gemcitabine. Upon treatment of PANC-1 and MIA-PaCa2 with berberine at a half-maximal inhibitory concentration (IC_5_0), apoptosis was induced by a mechanism that involved the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) rather than caspase 3/7 activation. Our findings showed that berberine had anti-cancer effects and may be an effective drug for pancreatic cancer chemotherapy
[en] Malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) is an aggressive malignancy closely associated with asbestos exposure and extremely resistant to current treatments. It exhibits a steady increase in incidence, thus necessitating an urgent development of effective new treatments. Proteasome inhibitors (PIs) and TNFα-Related Apoptosis Inducing Ligand (TRAIL), have emerged as promising new anti-MPM agents. To develop effective new treatments, the proapoptotic effects of PIs, MG132 or Bortezomib, and TRAIL were investigated in MPM cell lines NCI-H2052, NCI-H2452 and NCI-H28, which represent three major histological types of human MPM. Treatment with 0.5-1 μM MG132 alone or 30 ng/mL Bortezomib alone induced a limited apoptosis in MPM cells associated with the elevated Mcl-1 protein level and hyperactive PI3K/Akt signaling. However, whereas 10–20 ng/ml TRAIL alone induced a limited apoptosis as well, TRAIL and PI combination triggered a robust apoptosis in all three MPM cell lines. The robust proapoptotic activity was found to be the consequence of a positive feedback mechanism-governed amplification of caspase activation and cleavage of both Mcl-1 and Akt proteins, and exhibited a relative selectivity in MPM cells than in non-tumorigenic Met-5A mesothelial cells. The combinatorial treatment using TRAIL and PI may represent an effective new treatment for MPMs
[en] Neuroblastoma is the second most common paediatric cancer. It develops from undifferentiated simpatico-adrenal lineage cells and is mostly sporadic; however, the aetiology behind the development of neuroblastoma is still not fully understood. Intracellular calcium ([Ca"2"+]_i) is a secondary messenger which regulates numerous cellular processes and, therefore, its concentration is tightly regulated. This review focuses on the role of [Ca"2"+]_i in differentiation, apoptosis and proliferation in neuroblastoma. It describes the mechanisms by which [Ca"2"+]_i is regulated and how it modulates intracellular pathways. Furthermore, the importance of [Ca"2"+]_i for the function of anti-cancer drugs is illuminated in this review as [Ca"2"+]_i could be a target to improve the outcome of anti-cancer treatment in neuroblastoma. Overall, modulations of [Ca"2"+]_i could be a key target to induce apoptosis in cancer cells leading to a more efficient and effective treatment of neuroblastoma
[en] The efficacy of radiotherapy critically depends on the activation of intrinsic cell death programs in cancer cells. This implies that evasion of cell death, a hallmark of human cancers, can contribute to radioresistance. Therefore, novel strategies to reactivate cell death programs in cancer cells are required in order to overcome resistance to radiotherapy. Since Inhibitor of Apoptosis (IAP) proteins are expressed at high levels in multiple cancers and block cell death induction at a central point, therapeutic targeting of IAP proteins represents a promising approach to potentiate the efficacy of radiotherapy. The current review discusses the concept of targeting IAP proteins in combination with radiotherapy
[en] A P1 (jun/fos) transcription factors (c-jun, jun B, jun D, c-fos, Fos B, Fr a-1, and Fr a-2) are key regulators of epidermal keratinocyte survival and differentiation and important drivers of cancer development. Understanding the role of these factors in epidermis is complicated by the fact that each protein is expressed, at different levels, in multiple cells layers in differentiating epidermis, and because A P1 transcription factors regulate competing processes (i.e., proliferation, apoptosis, and differentiation). Various in vivo genetic approaches have been used to study these proteins including targeted and conditional knockdown, overexpression, and expression of dominant-negative inactivating A P1 transcription factors in epidermis. Taken together, these studies suggest that individual A P1 transcription factors have different functions in the epidermis and in cancer development and that altering A P1 transcription factor function in the basal versus supra basal layers differentially influences the epidermal differentiation response and disease and cancer development.
[en] Signaling via the intrinsic (mitochondrial) pathway of apoptosis represents one of the critical signal transduction cascades that control the regulation of cell death. This pathway is typically altered in human cancers, thereby providing a suitable target for therapeutic intervention. Members of the Bcl-2 family of proteins as well as cell survival signaling cascades such as the PI3K/Akt/mTOR pathway are involved in the regulation of mitochondria-mediated apoptosis. Therefore, further insights into the molecular mechanisms that form the basis for the control of mitochondria-mediated apoptosis will likely open new perspectives to bypass evasion of apoptosis and treatment resistance in human cancers.