Cancer stress biology
Cells and tissues are exposed to stress by several external signals, which can lead to disturbed homeostasis and disease. Cells have stress response mechanisms to restore balance and support homeostasis. In case these stress response mechanisms are impaired, or their capacity is exceeded, the homeostasis may be permanently disturbed and induce harmful consequences, such as cell death. Cancer cells are capable of tolerating several types of stress that to normal cells would be harmful, and they can even learn to exploit some forms of disturbed homeostasis. For example, excessive accumulation of protein and RNA can be toxic to e.g. neuronal cells and induce neurodegeneration, while cancer cells may harness the increased precence of certain molecules to their benefit. Cancer cells are also highly competent to tolerate several types of stress and avoid growth restrictions posed by the tissue surrounding them.
Leena Latonen, PhD, Adj.prof., university researcher