The inhibitor of apoptosis protein family (IAPs): An emerging therapeutic target in cancer

Boaz Nachmias, Yaqoub Ashhab, Dina Ben-Yehuda*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

240 Scopus citations


Apoptosis is a crucial biological process that prevents uncontrolled cell proliferation and eliminates harmful cells. Resistance to apoptotic stimuli is a hallmark feature of various cancers. One of the mechanisms through which tumor cells are believed to acquire resistance to apoptosis is by overexpression of inhibitor of apoptosis proteins (IAPs). IAPs are a group of structurally related proteins that were initially identified in baculoviruses. Mammalian IAPs block apoptosis either by binding and inhibiting caspases or through caspase-independent mechanisms. This family of proteins has become increasingly prominent in the field of cancer biology. To date, overexpression of several IAPs has been detected in various cancers. This paper reviews the recent advances in the research of IAPs. The differential expression and the biological significance of each IAP in various cancer types will be discussed. Finally, we review the most recent advances in the research efforts aimed at using IAPs as potential targets for cancer therapy.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)231-243
Number of pages13
JournalSeminars in Cancer Biology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • BIR
  • IAP
  • JNK
  • Jun kinase 1
  • RING
  • Smac
  • TNF
  • TNF related apoptosis inducing ligand
  • X-linked IAP
  • XIAP
  • baculovirus inhibitory repeat
  • inhibitor of apoptosis protein
  • really interesting new gene
  • tumor necrosis factor


Dive into the research topics of 'The inhibitor of apoptosis protein family (IAPs): An emerging therapeutic target in cancer'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this