Cell death pathology: The war against cancer

Alessandro Rufini, Gerry Melino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Programmed cell death was a fundamental discovery, awarded with the Nobel price in 2002 to Sulston, Brenner and Horvitz [1]. Since then it has been clear that alteration of apoptotic pathways is a common feature of tumors, enabling cancer cells to survive chemotherapeutic interventions. Thus, apoptosis is an attractive target in cancer therapy, with the aim to revert the cancer-related alterations of the cell death machinery. Here, we overview the fundamental apoptotic pathways and summarize the attempts to target apoptosis to restore cell death in cancer cells with a special focus on the p53-family and autophagy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)445-450
Number of pages6
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Oct 28 2011


  • Apoptosis
  • Autophagy
  • BH3 mimetics
  • Cancer therapy
  • P53-family

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Biophysics
  • Cell Biology
  • Molecular Biology


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