Receptor Tyrosine Kinases as Target for Anti-Cancer Therapy
M. M. Santoro,
Receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) are cell surface transmembrane proteins responsible for intracellular signal transduction. They are expressed in several cell types and, after activation by growth factor binding, trigger a series of intracellular pathways, leading to a wide variety of cell responses (e.g., differentiation, proliferation, migration and invasion, angiogenesis, survival). Over-expression and / or structural alteration of RTKs family members are often associated to human cancers and tumor cells are known to use RTK transduction pathways to achieve tumor growth, angiogenesis and metastasis. Therefore, RTKs represent pivotal target in approaches of cancer therapy. A number of small molecules acting as RTK inhibitors have been synthesized by pharmaceutical companies and are under clinical trials, are being analyzed in animal models or have been successfully marketed. Liganddependent downregulation of RTKs is a critical step for modulating their activity and the adaptor Cbl has been indicated as the key protein involved in negative regulation of RTKs, such as EGF and HGF receptors. These data suggest novel potential pharmacological targets for the treatment of human malignancies associated to oncogenic activation of RTKs.
Keywords: Tyrosine Kinases, Anti-Cancer Therapy, Growth Factor Receptor, Signal transduction, Cancer, Downregulation
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