AJTR Copyright © 2009-All rights reserved. Published by e-Century Publishing Corporation, Madison, WI 53711
Am J Transl Res 2010;2(1):65-74

Review Article
Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress Response in Cancer: Molecular
Mechanism and Therapeutic Potential

Guohui Wang, Zeng-Quan Yang, Kezhong Zhang

Center for Molecular Medicine & Genetics, Department of Immunology and Microbiology, Karmanos Cancer
Institute, Department of Pathology, The Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, MI 48201, USA;

Received December 9, 2009; accepted December 12, 2009; available online January 1, 2009

Abstract: In eukaryotic cells, the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is an organelle that is responsible for protein
folding and assembly, lipid and sterol biosynthesis, and free calcium storage. In the past decade, intensive
research effort has been focused on intracellular stress signaling pathways from the ER that lead to
transcriptional and translational reprogramming of stressed cells. These signaling pathways, which are
collectively termed Unfolded Protein Response (UPR), are critical for the cell to make survival or death decision
under ER stress conditions. In recent years, research in the cancer field has revealed that ER stress and the UPR
are highly induced in various tumors and are closely associated with cancer cell survival and resistance to
anti-cancer treatments. Identifying the UPR components that are activated or suppressed in malignancy and
exploring cancer therapeutic potentials by targeting the UPR are hot research spots. In this review, we summarize
the recent progress in understating UPR signaling in cancer and its related therapeutic potential. (AJTR912002).

Key words: Endoplasmic reticulum, ER stress, unfolded protein response, cancer, malignancy, cancer therapy

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Address all correspondence to:
Kezhong Zhang, PhD
Wayne State University School of Medicine
540 E. Canfield Avenue, Detroit, MI 48201, USA.
Tel: 313-577-2669; FAX: 313-577-5218