Biological functions of therapy-induced senescence in cancer

Eleni Fitsiou, Abel Soto-Gamez, Marco Demaria*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Abstract

Therapy-induced cellular senescence is a state of stable growth arrest induced by common cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation. In an oncogenic context, therapy-induced senescence can have different consequences. By blocking cellular proliferation and by facilitating immune cell infiltration, it functions as tumor suppressive mechanism. By fueling the proliferation of bystander cells and facilitating metastasis, it acts as a tumor promoting factor. This dual role is mainly attributed to the differential expression and secretion of a set of pro-inflammatory cytokines and tissue remodeling factors, collectively known as the Senescence-Associated Secretory Phenotype (SASP). Here, we describe cell-autonomous and non-cell-autonomous mechanisms that senescent cells activate in response to chemotherapy and radiation leading to tumor suppression and tumor promotion. We present the current state of knowledge on the stimuli that affect the activation of these opposing mechanisms and the effect of senescent cells on their micro-environment eg. by regulating the functions of immune cells in tumor clearance as well as strategies to eliminate senescent tumor cells before exerting their deleterious side-effects.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSeminars in cancer biology
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2021

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