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Target Oncol. 2009 Dec;4(4):267-73. doi: 10.1007/s11523-009-0125-x. Epub 2009 Nov 10.

Targeting mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase (MEK) in solid tumors.

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Medical Oncology Branch, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute, 9000 Rockville Pike, 10/13N240G, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


The Raf-mitogen activated protein kinase kinase (MEK)-extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) protein kinase signaling cascade is an important intracellular pathway whose activation influences many fundamental cellular processes and whose aberrancy is associated with cancer cell growth. In addition to activation from within by, for example, Raf mutations, this pathway is frequently activated from above by mutated Ras or epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). Given the near ubiquity of derangements affecting at least part of this network in cancer, there is a strong and clear rationale for interrupting it. In recent times, in colorectal and lung cancer, Ras and EGFR mutant status have been shown to be critically important and mutually exclusive predictors of response to anti-EGFR therapies. These developments underline the importance of targeting downstream effectors, and MEK inhibition has been the subject of intense scientific and clinical research for some time now. This article reviews the current status of MEK inhibitors with regard to their clinical development.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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