CD95 (APO-1/Fas) is an important inducer of the extrinsic apoptosis signaling pathway and therapy induced apoptosis of many tumor cells has been linked to the activity of CD95. Changes in the expression of CD95 and/or its ligand CD95L are frequently found in human cancer. The downregulation or mutation of CD95 has been proposed as a mechanism by which cancer cells avoid destruction by the immune system through reduced apoptosis sensitivity. CD95 has therefore been viewed as a tumor suppressor. Furthermore, increased CD95L concentration in tumor patients has been linked to tumor cells killing infiltrating lymphocytes in a process called "the tumor counter attack". Recent data have illuminated unknown activities of CD95 in tumor cells with downregulated or mutated CD95 in the presence of increased CD95L. Under these conditions the stimulation of CD95 signals nonapoptotic pathways, activating NF-κB and MAP kinases for example, which may result in the induction of tumorigenic or prosurvival genes. A new model of CD95 functions is proposed in which CD95 is converted from a tumor suppressor to a tumor promotor by a single point mutation in one of the CD95 alleles, a situation frequently found in advanced human cancer, resulting in apoptosis resistance and activation of tumorigenic pathways.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research