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Expert Opin Ther Targets. 2003 Oct;7(5):623-42.

The c-MYC oncoprotein as a treatment target in cancer and other disorders of cell growth.

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  • 1Molecular Medicine, Biomedical Research Institute, University of Warwick, Coventry, CV4 7AL, UK.


The c-MYC proto-oncogene is essential for cellular proliferation but, paradoxically, may also promote cell death. Deregulated expression of c-MYC is present in most, if not all, human cancers, and is associated with a poor prognosis. However, given that human tumours at diagnosis generally carry multiple genetic lesions that have accumulated during (although they are not necessarily essential for) tumour progression, it has proved difficult to attribute a specific role to any given single factor or indeed to explore the therapeutic potential of selectively mitigating their biological functions. Regulatable transgenic mouse models of oncogenesis have shed light on these issues, influenced our thinking about cancer and provided encouragement for the future development of cancer therapies based on targeting individual oncogenes such as c-MYC. Although still in its infancy, encouraging results have been reported using antisense oligodeoxynucleotide-based methods, as well as other approaches to interfere with MYC expression both in vitro and in vivo.

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