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Anoikis .COM


"Anoikis (from a  Greek word meaning ‘homelessness" or the state of being without a home) is defined as anchorage-dependent programmed cell death, In other words, anoikis is defined as apoptosis that is induced by inadequate or inappropriate cell–matrix interactions. it is use to describe the cells' apoptotic response to the absence of cell-matrix interactions."


Reference: Anoikis mechanisms. Frisch SM, Screaton RA. Curr Opin Cell Biol. 2001 Oct;13(5):555-62. Review.

- History (Key papers)

- Selected methods to study anoikis


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Cells undergoing anoikis shows typical apoptotic characteristics:  nucleosomal DNA ladder formation, cell shrinkage, caspase activation/cleavage of caspase substrates, cytochrome c release from mitochondria


Reference: Anoikis. Valentijn AJ, Zouq N, Gilmore AP. Biochem Soc Trans. 2004 Jun;32(Pt3):421-5. Review.


Some cells resist anoikis  by non-proliferation, non-apoptosis and cell cycle arrest which were termed synoikis. A synoikis-like mechanims, that lack proliferation, was also described by Zhang et al.


1) Adhesion-mediated squamous cell carcinoma survival through ligand-independent activation of epidermal growth factor receptor. Shen X, Kramer RH. Am J Pathol. 2004 Oct;165(4):1315-29.

2) Acquisition of anoikis resistance reveals a synoikis-like survival style in BEL7402 hepatoma cells. Zhang Z, Cao L, Li J, Liang X, Liu Y, Liu H, Du J, Qu Z, Cui M, Liu S, Gao L, Ma C, Zhang L, Han L, Sun W. Cancer Lett. 2008 Aug 18;267(1):106-15. Epub 2008 Apr 22.


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Anoikis is thought to be relevant to normal tissue homeostasis of rapid turnover epithelial tissues such as in the digestive tract. It is also important for embryonic development (gastrulation) and mammary gland involution

Reference: Signalling mechanisms of anoikis. Zhan M, Zhao H, Han ZC. Histol Histopathol. 2004 Jul;19(3):973-83. Review.






Recent studies  confirmed that the breakdown of anoikis contributes prominently to the malignancy of mammary and colon cancers


- Prolonged cell survival enhances peritoneal dissemination of gastric cancer cells. Yawata A, Adachi M, Okuda H, Naishiro Y, Takamura T, Hareyama M, Takayama S, Reed JC, Imai K. Oncogene. 1998 May;16(20):2681-6.

- Adhesion-mediated signaling in the regulation of mammary epithelial cell survival. Streuli CH, Gilmore AP. J Mammary Gland Biol Neoplasia. 1999 Apr;4(2):183-91. Review.

- Apoptosis, anoikis and their relevance to the pathobiology of colon cancer. Shanmugathasan M, Jothy S. Pathol Int. 2000 Apr;50(4):273-9. Review.






Anoikis in








Loss of cell anchorage triggers apoptosis (anoikis) in primary mouse hepatocytes. Smets FN, Chen Y, Wang LJ, Soriano HE. Mol Genet Metab. 2002 Apr;75(4):344-52.





 -Prostate cancer  

Decreased adhesiveness, resistance to anoikis and suppression of GRP94 are integral to the survival of circulating tumor cells in prostate cancer. Howard EW, Leung SC, Yuen HF, Chua CW, Lee DT, Chan KW, Wang X, Wong YC. Clin Exp Metastasis. 2008;25(5):497-508. Epub 2008 Mar 14.







Sjogren's syndrome


Fibulin-6 expression and anoikis in human salivary gland epithelial cells: implications in Sjogren's syndrome. Sisto M, D'Amore M, Lofrumento DD, Scagliusi P, D'Amore S, Mitolo V, Lisi S. Int Immunol. 2009 Mar;21(3):303-11. Epub 2009 Feb 3.



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