Dependence receptors: new targets for cancer therapy

EMBO Mol Med. 2021 Nov 8;13(11):e14495. doi: 10.15252/emmm.202114495. Epub 2021 Sep 20.


Dependence receptors are known to promote survival and positive signaling such as proliferation, migration, and differentiation when activated, but to actively trigger apoptosis when unbound to their ligand. Their abnormal regulation was shown to be an important feature of tumorigenesis, allowing cancer cells to escape apoptosis triggered by these receptors while promoting in parallel major aspects of tumorigenesis such as proliferation, angiogenesis, invasiveness, and chemoresistance. This involvement in multiple cancer hallmarks has raised interest in dependence receptors as targets for cancer therapy. Although additional studies remain necessary to fully understand the complexity of signaling pathways activated by these receptors and to target them efficiently, it is now clear that dependence receptors represent very exciting targets for future cancer treatment. This manuscript reviews current knowledge on the contribution of dependence receptors to cancer and highlights the potential for therapies that activate pro-apoptotic functions of these proteins.

Keywords: apoptosis; cancer hallmarks; treatment resistance; tumor progression.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Apoptosis
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms* / drug therapy
  • Signal Transduction*