Apoptosis and Cancer Chemotherapy

  • Stuart G. Lutzker
  • Arnold J. Levine
Part of the Cancer Treatment and Research book series (CTAR, volume 87)


For many years oncologists have focused on the proliferative capacity of tumors as an indication of their aggressiveness. Mitotic index and S-phase fraction are routinely reported in some tumors and have been used to guide treatment in some instances. It is only recently than we have come to appreciate that the net growth of a tumor is directly related to both its proliferative capacity as well as the rate of programmed cell death, termed apoptosis. Although first described in 1972 [1] and viewed largely as a distinctive form of cell death occurring during development and normal tissue turnover [2], apoptosis occurs spontaneously in tumor cells both in vitro and in vivo, and apoptosis can be induced in cancer cells by such diverse stimuli as DNA damage and growth factor withdrawl. As is discussed in this chapter, there appears to be a heavy selection pressure for genetic changes that inhibit apoptosis in cancer cells, and inhibition of apoptosis may represent a new form of drug resistance in cancer treatment.


Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia Follicular Lymphoma Acute Myelogenous Leukemia Myeloid Leukemia Cell Thymidine Excess 
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© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stuart G. Lutzker
  • Arnold J. Levine

There are no affiliations available

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