Chemopreventive agent-induced modulation of death receptors

Apoptosis. 2005 Dec;10(6):1203-10. doi: 10.1007/s10495-005-2274-4.


The goals of chemoprevention of cancer are to inhibit the initiation or suppress the promotion and progression of preneoplastic lesions to invasive cancer through the use specific natural or synthetic agents. Therefore, a more desirable and aggressive approach is to eliminate aberrant clones by inducing apoptosis rather than merely slowing down their proliferation. The increased understanding of apoptosis pathways has directed attention to components of these pathways as potential targets not only for chemotherapeutic but also for chemopreventive agents. Activation of death receptors triggers an extrinsic apoptotic pathway, which plays a critical role in tumor immunosurveillance. An increasing number of previously identified chemopreventive agents were found to induce apoptosis in a variety of premalignant and malignant cell types in vitro and in a few animal models in vivo. Some chemopreventive agents such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, tritepenoids, and retinoids increase the expression of death receptors. Thus, understanding the modulation of death receptors by chemopreventive agents and their implications in chemoprevention may provide a rational approach for using such agents alone or in combination with other agents to enhance death receptor-mediated apoptosis as a strategy for effective chemoprevention of cancer.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Chemoprevention*
  • Humans
  • Monitoring, Immunologic
  • Neoplasms / immunology
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Receptors, Death Domain / metabolism*


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Receptors, Death Domain