Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

DNA damage and the balance between survival and death in cancer biology

Roos, Wynand P.; Thomas, Adam D; Kaina, Bernd


Wynand P. Roos

Adam Thomas
Senior Lecturer in Human Genetics and Genomics

Bernd Kaina


© 2016 Macmillan Publishers Limited. DNA is vulnerable to damage resulting from endogenous metabolites, environmental and dietary carcinogens, some anti-inflammatory drugs, and genotoxic cancer therapeutics. Cells respond to DNA damage by activating complex signalling networks that decide cell fate, promoting not only DNA repair and survival but also cell death. The decision between cell survival and death following DNA damage rests on factors that are involved in DNA damage recognition, and DNA repair and damage tolerance, as well as on factors involved in the activation of apoptosis, necrosis, autophagy and senescence. The pathways that dictate cell fate are entwined and have key roles in cancer initiation and progression. Furthermore, they determine the outcome of cancer therapy with genotoxic drugs. Understanding the molecular basis of these pathways is important not only for gaining insight into carcinogenesis, but also in promoting successful cancer therapy. In this Review, we describe key decision-making nodes in the complex interplay between cell survival and death following DNA damage.


Roos, W. P., Thomas, A. D., & Kaina, B. (2016). DNA damage and the balance between survival and death in cancer biology. Nature Reviews Cancer, 16(1), 20-33.

Journal Article Type Review
Acceptance Date Dec 24, 2015
Publication Date Jan 1, 2016
Journal Nature Reviews Cancer
Print ISSN 1474-175X
Electronic ISSN 1474-1768
Publisher Nature Research (part of Springer Nature)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 16
Issue 1
Pages 20-33
Public URL
Publisher URL