The p53 tumor suppressor is part of a small family of related proteins that includes two other members, p73 and p63. Interest in the p53 family members, their functions and their complex interactions and regulation, has steadily grown over recent years and does not show signs of waning. p73 is a major determinant of chemosensitivity in humans, and mutant p53 proteins carrying specific polymorphisms can induce drug resistance by inhibiting TAp73. Cooperation between TA (transactivating, proapoptotic, antiproliferative) and ÄN (truncated, antiapoptotic, pro-proliferative) p73 isoforms and among the three family members guarantees equilibrium between proliferation, differentiation, and cell death, thus creating a harmony that is lost in several human cancers. In this article, we review our current knowledge of the role of p73 in cancer chemosensitivity and the real prospect of therapy targeting this molecule. We also draw attention to the crucial role of specific phosphorylation and acetylation events for p73-induced apoptosis and drug chemosensitivity. © 2009 American Association for Cancer Research.
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