Reversibility of apoptosis in cancer cells

H. L. Tang, K. L. Yuen, H. M. Tang, M. C. Fung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


Apoptosis is a cell suicide programme characterised by unique cellular events such as mitochondrial fragmentation and dysfunction, nuclear condensation, cytoplasmic shrinkage and activation of apoptotic protease caspases, and these serve as the noticeable apoptotic markers for the commitment of cell demise. Here, we show that, however, the characterised apoptotic dying cancer cells can regain their normal morphology and proliferate after removal of apoptotic inducers. In addition, we demonstrate that reversibility of apoptosis occurs in various cancer cell lines, and in different apoptotic stimuli. Our findings show that cancer cells can survive after initiation of apoptosis, thereby revealing an unexpected potential escape mechanism of cancer cells from chemotherapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)118-122
Number of pages5
JournalBritish journal of cancer
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 13 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Apoptosis
  • Death
  • Reversibility
  • Survive
  • Tumour

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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