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Expert Opin Ther Targets. 2007 Oct;11(10):1315-28.

Focal adhesion kinase: a promising target for anticancer therapy.

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  • 1National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Department of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology, Medical School, 75, Mikras Asias Street, Goudi, Athens, GR11527, Greece.


Focal adhesion kinase (FAK) is a protein tyrosine kinase acting as an early modulator of the integrin signalling cascade, thus regulating various basic cellular functions. In transformed cells, upregulation of FAK protein expression and uncontroled signalling were held responsible for the promotion of malignant phenotypic characteristics, as well as resistance to chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Direct FAK targeting resulted in the inhibition of the malignant phenotype of cancer cells, whereas increased apoptotic rates of cancer cells, either used alone or in combination with conventional chemotherapeutic agents, radiotherapy or hormonal therapy. Furthermore, drugs used in cancer chemotherapy, besides their basic mode of action, were also shown to act through altering FAK signalling. Finally, positive results were noted by the transfection of cancer cells with fak mutants or genes that suppress FAK expression or activity, such as phosphatase and tensin homolog deleted on chromosome Ten (PTEN), ribonucleotide reductase M1 polypeptide (RRM1) and melanoma differentiation-associated gene-7 (mda-7). The purpose of this article is a comprehensive review of the existing data on the possible use of FAK targeting in anticancer therapy.

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