The biological and therapeutic relevance of mRNA translation in cancer.
Blagden SP., Willis AE.
Protein synthesis is a tightly regulated process that enables post-transcriptional control of gene expression. Dysregulation of this process is associated with the development and progression of cancers because components of the translational machinery function at the point of convergence of aberrant cell signaling pathways. Drugs designed to inhibit mRNA translation are currently in preclinical and early clinical development, and are likely to provide effective anticancer strategies in the future. In this Review, we summarize the main components of translation and describe how alterations in these proteins and their principle upstream signaling pathways can impact on cancer. The first inhibitors of translation, drugs designed to target eIF4E, have been trialed in hematologic malignancies, while antisense oligonucleotides against eIF4E are also due to enter clinical trials. Here, we discuss the mode of action of drugs designed to inhibit mRNA translation and other promising therapies that are in preclinical development with the aim of becoming anticancer agents.