The TRAIL apoptotic pathway in cancer onset, progression and therapy

Nat Rev Cancer. 2008 Oct;8(10):782-98. doi: 10.1038/nrc2465.


Triggering of tumour cell apoptosis is the foundation of many cancer therapies. Death receptors of the tumour necrosis factor (TNF) superfamily have been largely characterized, as have the signals that are generated when these receptors are activated. TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) receptors (TRAILR1 and TRAILR2) are promising targets for cancer therapy. Herein we review what is known about the molecular control of TRAIL-mediated apoptosis, the role of TRAIL in carcinogenesis and the potential therapeutic utility of recombinant TRAIL and agonistic antibodies against TRAILR1 and TRAILR2.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / pharmacology
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use
  • Apoptosis
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Neoplasms / genetics
  • Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Death Domain / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Receptors, Death Domain / metabolism*
  • Receptors, TNF-Related Apoptosis-Inducing Ligand / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Receptors, TNF-Related Apoptosis-Inducing Ligand / metabolism
  • Recombinant Proteins / therapeutic use
  • Signal Transduction
  • TNF-Related Apoptosis-Inducing Ligand / agonists
  • TNF-Related Apoptosis-Inducing Ligand / metabolism*
  • TNF-Related Apoptosis-Inducing Ligand / therapeutic use*


  • Receptors, Death Domain
  • Receptors, TNF-Related Apoptosis-Inducing Ligand
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • TNF-Related Apoptosis-Inducing Ligand