Cellular senescence is a state of stable cell cycle arrest that can be triggered in response to various insults and is characterized by distinct morphological hallmarks, gene expression profiles, and the senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP). Importantly, cellular senescence is a key component of normal physiology with tumor suppressive functions. In the last few decades, novel cancer treatment strategies exploiting pro-senescence therapies have attracted considerable interest. Recent insight, however, suggests that therapy-induced senescence (TIS) elicits cell-autonomous and non-cell-autonomous implications that potentially entail detrimental consequences, reflecting the Jekyll and Hyde nature of cancer cell senescence. In essence, the undesirable manifestations that generally culminate in inflammation, cancer stemness, senescence reversal, therapy resistance, and disease recurrence are dictated by the persistent accumulation of senescent cells and the SASP. Thus, mitigating these pro-tumorigenic effects by eliminating these cells or inhibiting their SASP production holds great promise for developing innovative therapeutic strategies. In this review, we describe the fundamental aspects and dynamics of cancer cell senescence and summarize the comprehensive research on the adverse outcomes of TIS. Furthermore, we underline the rationale and motivation of emerging senotherapeutic modalities surrounding the removal of senescent cells and the SASP to help maximize the overall efficacy of cancer therapies.
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