Arsenic, known as both a naturally occurring toxic element and a traditionally used drug, has caught a great deal of attention from worldwide people due to its curable anticancer effect in patients with acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL). Among the arsenicals, arsenic trioxide (ATO) has been the most widely used anticancer drug. Since ATO exerts an anticancer effect by mediating apoptosis, numerous studies have made efforts to uncover the molecular mechanisms by which ATO activates and/or mediates the apoptotic signaling pathway in cancer cells. Recent advances in cancer therapeutics have led to a paradigm shift away from the traditional cytotoxic drugs toward the targeting of proteins closely associated with driving the cancer phenotype. Here, we discuss novel current arsenic-based combination therapies to treat cancer in both clinical and experimental settings. We also discuss the novel molecular mechanism underlying apoptosis induced by the combined therapies.
Part of the book: Current Understanding of Apoptosis