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Apoptosis is a form of programmed cell death that is essential for tissue homeostasis. De-regulation of the balance between proliferation and apoptosis contributes to tumor initiation. Particularly in the colon where apoptosis is a crucial process in intestinal turnover, inhibition of apoptosis facilitates transformation and tumor progression. The BCL-2 family of proteins are key regulators of apoptosis and have been implicated in colorectal cancer (CRC) initiation, progression and resistance to therapy. In this review we outline the current knowledge on the BCL-2 family-regulated intrinsic apoptosis pathway and mechanisms by which it is de-regulated in CRC. We further review BH3 mimetics as a therapeutic opportunity to target this pathway and evaluate their potential for CRC treatment.


Prashanthi Ramesh, Jan Paul Medema. BCL-2 family deregulation in colorectal cancer: potential for BH3 mimetics in therapy. Apoptosis : an international journal on programmed cell death. 2020 Jun;25(5-6):305-320

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PMID: 32335811

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