Aberrant Notch activation is linked to cancer since 1991 when mammalian Notch1 was first identified as part of the translocation t(7;9) in a subset of human T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemias (T-ALL). Since then oncogenic Notch signaling has been found in many solid and hematopoietic neoplasms. Depending on tumor type Notch interferes with differentiation, proliferation, survival, cell-cycle progression, angiogenesis, and possibly self-renewal. In hematopoietic neoplasms, recent findings indicate an important role of Notch for TALL induction and progression and the pathogenesis of human T- and B-cell-derived lymphomas. Notch signaling has been identified as a potential new therapeutic target in these hematopoietic neoplasms. This review will focus on the most recent findings on Notch signaling in leukemias and lymphomas and its potential role in the maintenance of malignant stem cells.
Keywords: Notch, T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia, Hodgkin lymphoma, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia, multiple myeloma, cancer stem cells
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