The Multifaceted Role of HSF1 in Tumorigenesis

Milad J. Alasady, Marc L. Mendillo*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

11 Scopus citations


Heat Shock Factor 1 (HSF1), the master transcriptional regulator of the heat shock response (HSR), was first cloned more than 30 years ago. Most early research interrogating the role that HSF1 plays in biology focused on its cytoprotective functions, as a factor that promotes the survival of organisms by protecting against the proteotoxicity associated with neurodegeneration and other pathological conditions. However, recent studies have revealed a deleterious role of HSF1, as a factor that is co-opted by cancer cells to promote their own survival to the detriment of the organism. In cancer, HSF1 operates in a multifaceted manner to promote oncogenic transformation, proliferation, metastatic dissemination, and anti-cancer drug resistance. Here we review our current understanding of HSF1 activation and function in malignant progression and discuss the potential for HSF1 inhibition as a novel anticancer strategy. Collectively, this ever-growing body of work points to a prominent role of HSF1 in nearly every aspect of carcinogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAdvances in Experimental Medicine and Biology
Number of pages17
StatePublished - 2020

Publication series

NameAdvances in Experimental Medicine and Biology
ISSN (Print)0065-2598
ISSN (Electronic)2214-8019


  • Cancer
  • Chaperones
  • Gene regulatory networks
  • HSF1
  • Heat shock
  • Heat shock proteins
  • Stress response
  • Transcription factor
  • Tumor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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