Proapoptotic receptor agonists (PARAs) targeting death receptors (DRs) 4 and 5 hold promise for cancer therapy based on their selective ability to kill malignant versus healthy cells. Emerging clinical results have confirmed that DR4/5 PARAs are relatively well-tolerated and suitable for further investigation. Given that some cancer cell lines and models are not sensitive to PARAs, it is important to develop strategies to identify what specific types of tumor cells may be most responsive to PARA-based therapy and how to overcome apoptosis resistance mechanisms in tumors. Here we review the molecular and biological determinants of responsiveness to PARAs in cancer cells, and discuss the potential for predictive biomarkers and drug combination strategies to maximize the anti-tumor activity of these agents.
Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.