Oncogene-Blocking Therapies: New Insights from Conditional Mouse Tumor Models
J. G. Hengstler,
E. O. Bockamp,
I. B. Schiffer,
Identification of oncogene dependent signaling pathways controlling aggressive tumor growth has led to the emergence of a new era of oncogene-blocking therapies, including Herceptin and Gleevec. In the recent years conditional mouse tumor models have been established that allow switching-off the expression of specific oncogenes controlling tumor growth. The results may have two important implications for oncogeneblocking therapies: (i) downregulation of oncogenes, for instance HER2, MYC, RAS, RAF, BCR-ABL or WNT1, usually leads to a rapid tumor remission. However, it was observed that the initial remission was followed by recurrent tumor growth in most studies. Interestingly, different oncogenes controlled tumor growth in the recurrent than in the primary tumors. This could explain the astonishing clinical observation that inhibitors of a broader spectrum of protein kinases (so-called: “dirty inhibitors”) may be superior over highly specific substances. Due to their additional “unspecific” inhibition of a broader spectrum of kinases, they may hamper the escape mechanisms by antagonizing also the pathways controlling recurrent tumor growth. (ii) Experiments with cell systems that allow switching-on oncogene expression point to a so far possibly underestimated cancer drug target: the dormant tumor cell. Oncogene expression (for instance: NeuT or RAS) led to a phenomenon named oncogene-induced senescence or dormancy. Dormant cells are unresponsive to mitogenic stimuli. Importantly, such cells are not at all ready to die, but can remain viable for extended periods of time. Recently, dormant tumor cells have been shown to be more resistant to stresses such as hypoxia or exposure to cytostatic drugs. It still is a matter of debate if and under which conditions dormant tumor cells can be “kissed to life”. If these cells contribute to carcinogenesis, it will be important to identify substances specifically killing senescent cells. This review will focus on the possible relevance of senescence both as a pre-oncogenic condition and also for therapy.
Keywords: tumor regression, HER2 down regulation, anhydrotetracycline (ATc), Carcinomas, MDM2-mediated ubiquitination, Oncogene-Induced Senescence
Rights & PermissionsPrintExport