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Bulletin du Cancer

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Cell death induced by cytotoxic agents Volume 93, supplement 4, Numéro hors-série, Avril 2006

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Inserm U517, IFR100, Faculté de Médecine, 7, boulevard Jeanne d’Arc, 21000 Dijon

Cytotoxic agents are able to induce cell death through a variety of mechanisms among which apoptosis is the best known. Apoptosis, a programmed cell destruction, is executed by a series of proteases named caspases, whose activity is revealed after the onset of molecular signals originating from the mitochondria (cytochrome c) or from extracellular messages by activation of membrane cell death receptors. Cytotoxic agents are able, in some cell types, to trigger or to facilitate these inducing mechanisms. The multiplicity and redundancy of apoptotic pathways render difficult its pharmacological targeting. Nevertheless, the mitochondrial protein Bcl2 appears as a promising therapeutic target.