Apoptosis and genomic instability

Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 2004 Sep;5(9):752-62. doi: 10.1038/nrm1443.


Genomic instability is intrinsically linked to significant alterations in apoptosis control. Chromosomal and microsatellite instability can cause the inactivation of pro-apoptotic pathways. In addition, the inhibition of apoptosis itself can be permissive for the survival and ongoing division of cells that have failed to repair DNA double-strand breaks, experience telomere dysfunction or are in an abnormal polyploid state. Furthermore, DNA-repair proteins can regulate apoptosis. So, genomic instability and apoptosis are intimately linked phenomena, with important implications for the pathophysiology of cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / physiology*
  • Cell Cycle / physiology
  • Cell Survival
  • Cellular Senescence
  • DNA Damage
  • DNA Repair
  • Genomic Instability*
  • Humans
  • Ploidies
  • Signal Transduction / physiology
  • Telomere / metabolism
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / metabolism


  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53