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Genes Dev. 2007 Dec 15;21(24):3214-31.

Oncogene addiction: setting the stage for molecularly targeted cancer therapy.

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Center for Molecular Therapeutics, Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center and Harvard Medical School, Charlestown, Massachusetts 02129, USA.


In pugilistic parlance, the one-two punch is a devastating combination of blows, with the first punch setting the stage and the second delivering the knock-out. This analogy can be extended to molecularly targeted cancer therapies, with oncogene addiction serving to set the stage for tumor cell killing by a targeted therapeutic agent. While in vitro and in vivo examples abound documenting the existence of this phenomenon, the mechanistic underpinnings that govern oncogene addiction are just beginning to emerge. Our current inability to fully exploit this weakness of cancer cells stems from an incomplete understanding of oncogene addiction, which nonetheless represents one of the rare chinks in the formidable armor of cancer cells.

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