Apoptosis plays many vital roles in maintaining organ homeostasis and represents type I programmed cell death. Programmed cell death happens when the DNA damage is irremediable and has two important pathways, the intrinsic death pathway also known as the mitochondrial pathway, and the extrinsic programmed cell death pathway. Any defects in the regulation of these crucial pathways have been associated with many disorders, most importantly cancer. Therefore, understanding the molecular basis of apoptosis is essential for the treatment of incurable cancer. To date, several anti-cancer drugs have been developed by targeting anti-apoptotic proteins, which are upregulated in many cancers. Nonetheless, a disease progression often time warranted due to the deregulation of several anti or pro-apoptotic proteins which also contribute to drug resistance. Hence, it is important to understand the maintenance and counteraction of apoptosis and improve successful new pharmacological applications of cell death mechanisms for future therapies. This chapter discusses the mechanism of apoptosis and emerging principles of drug resistance in cancer.
Part of the book: Regulation and Dysfunction of Apoptosis