Drugging cell cycle kinases in cancer therapy.
Blagden S., de Bono J.
Cell cycle kinases are comprised of cyclin-dependent kinases (Cdks), non-Cdk kinases such as Plk-1 and Aurora and checkpoint proteins such as Chk1 and Chk2. Though ubiquitous to dividing cells, many cell cycle kinases are amplified or over-expressed in malignancy and are potential targets for anti-cancer therapies. Cdk inhibiting drugs (such as flavopiridol, UCN-01, E7070, R-Roscovitine and BMS-387032) have shown preclinical and clinical anticancer activity. However, many of these agents are promiscuous and undiscerning, targeting other non-cell cycle kinases and affecting normal cells, thereby causing significant toxicity. To overcome this, a new generation of Cdk inhibitors are in development with greater target specificity, as well as others that inhibit non-Cdk cell cycle kinases, both directly and indirectly. The outcome of early clinical trials involving these agents is awaited, but these certainly represent a promising new area of anticancer drug development.