Author(s): Khan Z, Bisen PS
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Abstract Cancer is a class of diseases characterized by uncontrolled cell growth. The development of cancer takes place in a multi-step process during which cells acquire a series of mutations that eventually lead to unrestrained cell growth and division, inhibition of cell differentiation, and evasion of cell death. Dysregulation of oncoapoptotic genes, growth factors, receptors and their downstream signaling pathway components represent a central driving force in tumor development. The detailed studies of signal transduction pathways for mechanisms of cell growth and apoptosis have significantly advanced our understanding of human cancers, subsequently leading to more effective treatments. Oral squamous cell carcinoma represents a classic example of multi-stage carcinogenesis. It gradually evolves through transitional precursor lesions from normal epithelium to a full-blown metastatic phenotype. Genetic alterations in many genes encoding crucial proteins, which regulate cell proliferation, differentiation, survival and apoptosis, have been implicated in oral cancer. As like other solid tumors, in oral cancer these genes include the ones coding for cell cycle regulators or oncoproteins (e.g. Ras, Myc, cyclins, CDKs, and CKIs), tumor suppressors (e.g. p53 and pRb), pro-survival proteins (e.g. telomerase, growth factors or their receptors), anti-apoptotic proteins (e.g. Bcl2 family, IAPs, and NF-kB), pro-apoptotic proteins (e.g. Bax and BH-3 family, Fas, TNF-R, and caspases), and the genes encoding key transcription factors or elements for signal transduction leading to cell growth and apoptosis. Here we discuss the current knowledge of oncoapoptotic regulation in human cancers with special reference to oral cancers. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
This article was published in Biochim Biophys Acta
and referenced in Journal of Cancer Science & Therapy