Review

Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences

, Volume 64, Issue 21, pp 2746-2762

Notch and cancer: a double-edged sword

  • U. KochAffiliated withThe Swiss Institute for Experimental Cancer Research (ISREC), Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL)
  • , F. RadtkeAffiliated withThe Swiss Institute for Experimental Cancer Research (ISREC), Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) Email author 

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Abstract.

The highly conserved Notch signaling pathway plays pleiotropic roles during embryonic development and is important for the regulation of selfrenewing tissues. The physiological functions of this signaling cascade range from stem cell maintenance and influencing cell fate decisions of barely differentiated progenitor cells, to the induction of terminal differentiation processes, all of which have been found to be recapitulated in different forms of cancers. Although Notch signaling has mostly been associated with oncogenic and growth-promoting roles, depending on the tissue type it can also function as a tumor suppressor. Here we describe recent findings on Notch signaling in cancer and tumor angiogenesis, and highlight some of the therapeutic approaches that are currently being developed to interfere with tumor growth and progression.

Keywords.

Notch signaling oncogene tumor suppressor cancer therapy