FOXOs, cancer and regulation of apoptosis

Oncogene. 2008 Apr 7;27(16):2312-9. doi: 10.1038/onc.2008.24.


Forkhead box O (FOXO) transcription factors are involved in multiple signaling pathways and play critical roles in a number of physiological and pathological processes including cancer. The importance of FOXO factors ascribes them under multiple levels of regulation including phosphorylation, acetylation/deacetylation, ubiquitination and protein-protein interactions. As FOXO factors play a pivotal role in cell fate decision, mounting evidence suggests that FOXO factors function as tumor suppressors in a variety of cancers. FOXOs are actively involved in promoting apoptosis in a mitochondria-independent and -dependent manner by inducing the expression of death receptor ligands, including Fas ligand and tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand, and Bcl-2 family members, such as Bim, bNIP3 and Bcl-X(L), respectively. An understanding of FOXO proteins and their biology will provide new opportunities for developing more effective therapeutic approaches to treat cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / physiology*
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Neoplasms / physiopathology*


  • Forkhead Transcription Factors