New Frontiers in Promoting TRAIL-Mediated Cell Death: Focus on Natural Sensitizers, miRNAs, and Nanotechnological Advancements

Ammad Ahmad Farooqi, Cosmo Damiano Gadaleta, Girolamo Ranieri, Sundas Fayyaz, Ilaria Marech

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cancer is a multifaceted and genomically complex disease, and rapidly emerging scientific evidence is emphasizing on intra-tumor heterogeneity within subpopulations of tumor cells and rapidly developing resistance against different molecular therapeutics. There is an overwhelmingly increasing list of agents currently being tested for efficacy against cancer. In accordance with the concept that therapeutic agents must have fewer off target effects and considerable efficacy, TRAIL has emerged as one among the most deeply investigated proteins reportedly involved in differential killing of tumor cells. Considerable killing activity of TRAIL against different cancers advocated its entry into clinical trials. However, data obtained through preclinical and cell culture studies are deepening our understanding of wide-ranging mechanisms which induce resistance against TRAIL-based therapeutics. These include downregulation of death receptors, overexpression of oncogenes, inactivation of tumor suppressor genes, imbalance of pro- and anti-apoptotic proteins, and inactivation of intrinsic and extrinsic pathways. Substantial fraction of information has been added into existing pool of knowledge related to TRAIL biology and recently accumulating evidence is adding new layers to regulation of TRAIL-induced apoptosis. Certain hints have emerged underscoring miR135a-3p- and miR-143-mediated regulation of TRAIL-induced apoptosis, and natural agents have shown remarkable efficacy in improving TRAIL-based therapeutics by increasing expression of tumor suppressor miRNAs. In this review, we summarize most recent breakthroughs related to naturopathy and strategies to nanotechnologically deliver TRAIL to the target site in xenografted mice. We also set spotlight on positive and negative regulators of TRAIL-mediated signaling. Comprehensive knowledge of genetics and proteomics of TRAIL-based signaling network obtained from cancer patients of different populations will be helpful in getting a step closer to personalized medicine.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-10
Number of pages8
JournalCell Biochemistry and Biophysics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2016


  • Apoptosis
  • Phytochemicals
  • Signaling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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