Heat shock protein expression and immunity: Relevance to gynecologic oncology
Genital Neoplasms, Female
Heat shock proteins function as molecular chaperones, guiding the transport, assembly and degradation of intracellular polypeptides. Under the influence of non-physiological conditions heat shock protein synthesis is accelerated to aid cell survival. Thus, over-production of heat shock proteins protects malignantly transformed cells from apoptotic cell death and fosters resistance to chemotherapeutic agents and irradiation. Individual heat shock proteins, such as the 27 kDa (hsp27) and 70 kDa (hsp70) heat shock proteins, their antibodies and/or genotypes of polymorphic genes may have diagnostic and prognostic value for different gynecologic malignancies. The possible exploitation of the properties of heat shock proteins for development of unique anti-cancer therapies in individuals resistant to traditional treatment is currently under active investigation.