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The Capital Region of Denmark - a part of Copenhagen University Hospital
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Blocking protein quality control to counter hereditary cancers

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  • Caroline Kampmeyer
  • Sofie V Nielsen
  • Lene Clausen
  • Amelie Stein
  • Anne-Marie Gerdes
  • Kresten Lindorff-Larsen
  • Rasmus Hartmann-Petersen
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Inhibitors of molecular chaperones and the ubiquitin-proteasome system have already been clinically implemented to counter certain cancers, including multiple myeloma and mantle cell lymphoma. The efficacy of this treatment relies on genomic alterations in cancer cells causing a proteostatic imbalance, which makes them more dependent on protein quality control (PQC) mechanisms than normal cells. Accordingly, blocking PQC, e.g. by proteasome inhibitors, may cause a lethal proteotoxic crisis in cancer cells, while leaving normal cells unaffected. Evidence, however, suggests that the PQC system operates by following a better-safe-than-sorry principle and is thus prone to target proteins that are only slightly structurally perturbed, but still functional. Accordingly, implementing PQC inhibitors may also, through an entirely different mechanism, hold potential for other cancers. Several inherited cancer susceptibility syndromes, such as Lynch syndrome and von Hippel-Lindau disease, are caused by missense mutations in tumor suppressor genes, and in some cases, the resulting amino acid substitutions in the encoded proteins cause the cellular PQC system to target them for degradation, although they may still retain function. As a consequence of this over-meticulous PQC mechanism, the cell may end up with an insufficient amount of the abnormal, but functional, protein, which in turn leads to a loss-of-function phenotype and manifestation of the disease. Increasing the amounts of such proteins by stabilizing with chemical chaperones, or by targeting molecular chaperones or the ubiquitin-proteasome system, may thus avert or delay the disease onset. Here, we review the potential of targeting the PQC system in hereditary cancer susceptibility syndromes.

Original languageEnglish
JournalGenes Chromosomes and Cancer
Volume56
Issue number12
Pages (from-to)823-831
Number of pages9
ISSN1045-2257
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2017

    Research areas

  • Journal Article, Review

ID: 52408812