Dysregulation of apoptosis contributes to the pathophysiology ofcancer. A variety of defects in the apoptotic machinery contribute to avoidanceof apoptosis by tumor cells throughout the entire carcinogenic process. Theenhanced capacity of tumor cells to survive allows them to overcome (in analogyto decathlon athletes) numerous challenges encountered, not only in the primarytumor location, but also during their vascular distribution and at theirmultiple final destinations. The universal dependence of tumor cells onmechanisms to avoid apoptosis suggests a 'window of homogeneity'that could be exploited therapeutically. CTL, cytotoxic T lymphocyte.