Stressed Out - Therapeutic Implications of ER Stress Related Cancer Research
1. Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas 66160, USA;
2. Department of Cancer Biology, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas 66160, USA.
The unfolded protein response (UPR) is an established and well-studied cellular response to the stress and serves to relieve the stress and reinstate cellular homeostasis. It occurs in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), responsible of properly folding and processing of secretory and transmembrane proteins. It is extremely sensitive to alteration in homeostasis caused by various internal or external stressors which leads to accumulation of misfolded or unfolded proteins in the ER lumen. The UPR works by restoring protein homeostasis in the ER, either through the boosting of protein-folding and degradation capability or by assuaging the demands for such effects, and can cause the activation of cell death if unable to do so. Cancer cells have adapted to gain advantage from the UPR and keeping the cell away from apoptosis and promoting survival, including survival of the cancer stem cells and evading the immune system. Several components of the UPR are overexpressed in a malignant cell and are responsible for resistance from various chemotherapy options and radiotherapy, which are also responsible for causing ER stress and activating the UPR. In this review, we discuss the various ways in which UPR can aid different cancers to survive and evade therapy and highlight recent research, which exploits the UPR to confer sensitivity to these cancer cells against various drugs and radiation.
Keywords: ER Stress, UPR, Cancer Stem Cells, Radiation, Immunotherapy.