p73 isoforms meet evolution of metastasis

Logotheti S., Pavlopoulou A., Marquardt S., Takan I., Georgakilas A. G., Stiewe T.

CANCER AND METASTASIS REVIEWS, no.4, pp.853-869, 2022 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Review
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s10555-022-10057-z
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Biotechnology Research Abstracts, CAB Abstracts, EMBASE, MEDLINE, Veterinary Science Database
  • Page Numbers: pp.853-869
  • Keywords: Cancer evolution, Metastasis, Co-option, Developmental and tissue homeostasis programs, p73 isoforms, Tumor evolutionary trajectories, MUTANT P53 GAIN, TUMOR ANGIOGENESIS, CELL-MIGRATION, CANCER, TAP73, P63, DELTA-NP73, EXPRESSION, LUNG, TRANSACTIVATION
  • Dokuz Eylül University Affiliated: Yes


Cancer largely adheres to Darwinian selection. Evolutionary forces are prominent during metastasis, the final and incurable disease stage, where cells acquire combinations of advantageous phenotypic features and interact with a dynamically changing microenvironment, in order to overcome the metastatic bottlenecks, while therapy exerts additional selective pressures. As a strategy to increase their fitness, tumors often co-opt developmental and tissue-homeostasis programs. Herein, 25 years after its discovery, we review TP73, a sibling of the cardinal tumor-suppressor TP53, through the lens of cancer evolution. The TP73 gene regulates a wide range of processes in embryonic development, tissue homeostasis and cancer via an overwhelming number of functionally divergent isoforms. We suggest that TP73 neither merely mimics TP53 via its p53-like tumor-suppressive functions, nor has black-or-white-type effects, as inferred by the antagonism between several of its isoforms in processes like apoptosis and DNA damage response. Rather, under dynamic conditions of selective pressure, the various p73 isoforms which are often co-expressed within the same cancer cells may work towards a common goal by simultaneously activating isoform-specific transcriptional and non-transcriptional programs. Combinatorial co-option of these programs offers selective advantages that overall increase the likelihood for successfully surpassing the barriers of the metastatic cascade. The p73 functional pleiotropy-based capabilities might be present in subclonal populations and expressed dynamically under changing microenvironmental conditions, thereby supporting clonal expansion and propelling evolution of metastasis. Deciphering the critical p73 isoform patterns along the spatiotemporal axes of tumor evolution could identify strategies to target TP73 for prevention and therapy of cancer metastasis.