Is TRAIL the holy grail of cancer therapy?

Apoptosis. 2009 Apr;14(4):607-23. doi: 10.1007/s10495-009-0321-2.


Inducing apoptosis has become an important approach in the development of new anti-cancer treatments. Tumour necrosis factor apoptosis inducing ligand (TRAIL) based therapies have emerged as one of the most promising examples of this as they selectively induce apoptosis in tumour cells. However, many primary tumours are inherently resistant to TRAIL-mediated apoptosis and require additional sensitisation. Here we review apoptotic and non-apoptotic TRAIL-signalling, and the therapeutic effects of TRAIL-based treatments both as monotherapy and in combination with sensitising agents.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Apoptosis / drug effects*
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm
  • Forecasting
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Recombinant Proteins / pharmacology
  • Recombinant Proteins / therapeutic use
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects*
  • TNF-Related Apoptosis-Inducing Ligand / genetics
  • TNF-Related Apoptosis-Inducing Ligand / pharmacology
  • TNF-Related Apoptosis-Inducing Ligand / therapeutic use*


  • Recombinant Proteins
  • TNF-Related Apoptosis-Inducing Ligand