Author(s): Ciocca DR, Calderwood SK, Ciocca DR, Calderwood SK
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Abstract Heat shock proteins (Hsps) are overexpressed in a wide range of human cancers and are implicated in tumor cell proliferation, differentiation, invasion, metastasis, death, and recognition by the immune system. We review the current status of the role of Hsp expression in cancer with special emphasis on the clinical setting. Although Hsp levels are not informative at the diagnostic level, they are useful biomarkers for carcinogenesis in some tissues and signal the degree of differentiation and the aggressiveness of some cancers. In addition, the circulating levels of Hsp and anti-Hsp antibodies in cancer patients may be useful in tumor diagnosis. Furthermore, several Hsp are implicated with the prognosis of specific cancers, most notably Hsp27, whose expression is associated with poor prognosis in gastric, liver, and prostate carcinoma, and osteosarcomas, and Hsp70, which is correlated with poor prognosis in breast, endometrial, uterine cervical, and bladder carcinomas. Increased Hsp expression may also predict the response to some anticancer treatments. For example, Hsp27 and Hsp70 are implicated in resistance to chemotherapy in breast cancer, Hsp27 predicts a poor response to chemotherapy in leukemia patients, whereas Hsp70 expression predicts a better response to chemotherapy in osteosarcomas. Implication of Hsp in tumor progression and response to therapy has led to its successful targeting in therapy by 2 main strategies, including: (1) pharmacological modification of Hsp expression or molecular chaperone activity and (2) use of Hsps in anticancer vaccines, exploiting their ability to act as immunological adjuvants. In conclusion, the present times are of importance for the field of Hsps in cancer, with great contributions to both basic and clinical cancer research.
This article was published in Cell Stress Chaperones
and referenced in Journal of Dermatitis