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Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 217513, 13 pages
Review Article

Molecular Cochaperones: Tumor Growth and Cancer Treatment

Division of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Department of Radiation Oncology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, 99 Brookline Avenue, Boston, MA 02215, USA

Received 11 February 2013; Accepted 1 April 2013

Academic Editors: M. H. Manjili and Y. Oji

Copyright © 2013 Stuart K. Calderwood. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Molecular chaperones play important roles in all cellular organisms by maintaining the proteome in an optimally folded state. They appear to be at a premium in cancer cells whose evolution along the malignant pathways requires the fostering of cohorts of mutant proteins that are employed to overcome tumor suppressive regulation. To function at significant rates in cells, HSPs interact with cochaperones, proteins that assist in catalyzing individual steps in molecular chaperoning as well as in posttranslational modification and intracellular localization. We review current knowledge regarding the roles of chaperones such as heat shock protein 90 (Hsp90) and Hsp70 and their cochaperones in cancer. Cochaperones are potential targets for cancer therapy in themselves and can be used to assess the likely prognosis of individual malignancies. Hsp70 cochaperones Bag1, Bag3, and Hop play significant roles in the etiology of some cancers as do Hsp90 cochaperones Aha1, p23, Cdc37, and FKBP1. Others such as the J domain protein family, HspBP1, TTC4, and FKBPL appear to be associated with more benign tumor phenotypes. The key importance of cochaperones for many pathways of protein folding in cancer suggests high promise for the future development of novel pharmaceutical agents.