The unpleasant side effects of cancer treatments may not be necessary for successful tumor suppression, according to a paper in this week's Nature. Researchers report that widespread cell death caused by the tumor suppressor p53 in response to DNA damage is not required for p53 to block tumor formation. Instead, p53 stops tumor cells by responding specifically to oncogenic mutations."There's a growing understanding that p53 responds to many different types of stresses," said Laura Attardi of Stanford University in California, who was not involved in the study. "Some of those may be more central in tumorigenesis than DNA damage per se." p53 induces apoptosis and cell-cycle arrest in cells with damaged genomes, and this response has been thought to underlie its ability to stop tumor formation, said the new study's senior author, Gerard Evan of the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). These cellular pathologies also cause immune...

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