Negative regulators of cell death pathways in cancer: perspective on biomarkers and targeted therapies

Ali Razaghi, Kirsten Ruth Heimann, Patrick M. Schaeffer, Spencer Bruce Gibson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)


Cancer is a primary cause of human fatality and conventional cancer therapies, e.g., chemotherapy, are often associated with adverse side-effects, tumor drug-resistance, and recurrence. Molecularly targeted therapy, composed of small-molecule inhibitors and immunotherapy (e.g., monoclonal antibody and cancer vaccines), is a less harmful alternative being more effective against cancer cells whilst preserving healthy tissues. Drug-resistance, however, caused by negative regulation of cell death signaling pathways, is still a challenge. Circumvention of negative regulators of cell death pathways or development of predictive and response biomarkers is, therefore, quintessential. This review critically discusses the current state of knowledge on targeting negative regulators of cell death signaling pathways including apoptosis, ferroptosis, necroptosis, autophagy, and anoikis and evaluates the recent advances in clinical and preclinical research on biomarkers of negative regulators. It aims to provide a comprehensive platform for designing efficacious polytherapies including novel agents for restoring cell death signaling pathways or targeting alternative resistance pathways to improve the chances for antitumor responses. Overall, it is concluded that nonapoptotic cell death pathways are a potential research arena for drug discovery, development of novel biomarkers and targeted therapies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-112
Number of pages20
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2018


  • Biomarker
  • Cancer targeted therapy
  • Cell death pathway
  • Drug resistance
  • Immunotherapy
  • Negative regulator


Dive into the research topics of 'Negative regulators of cell death pathways in cancer: perspective on biomarkers and targeted therapies'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this