Introduction: The Fas/FasL system plays a significant role in tumorigenesis. Research has shown that its impairment in cancer cells may lead to apoptosis resistance and contribute to tumor progression. Thus, the development of effective therapies targeting the Fas/FasL system may play an important role in the fight against cancer.
Areas covered: In this review the recent literature on targeting the Fas/FasL system for therapeutic exploitation at different levels is reviewed. Promising pre-clinical approaches and various exceptions are highlighted. The potential of combined therapies is also explored, whereby tumor sensitivity to Fas-mediated apoptosis is restored, before an effective targeted therapy is employed.
Expert opinion: The success of the Fas/FasL system targeting for therapeutics will require a better understanding of the alterations conferring resistance, in order to use the most appropriate sensitizing chemotherapeutic or radiotherapeutic agents in combination with effective targeted therapies.