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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2012 Jan;1825(1):64-76. doi: 10.1016/j.bbcan.2011.10.003. Epub 2011 Oct 18.

The 26S proteasome complex: an attractive target for cancer therapy.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, Carbondale, IL 62901, USA.


The 26S proteasome complex engages in an ATP-dependent proteolytic degradation of a variety of oncoproteins, transcription factors, cell cycle specific cyclins, cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitors, ornithine decarboxylase, and other key regulatory cellular proteins. Thus, the proteasome regulates either directly or indirectly many important cellular processes. Altered regulation of these cellular events is linked to the development of cancer. Therefore, the proteasome has become an attractive target for the treatment of numerous cancers. Several proteasome inhibitors that target the proteolytic active sites of the 26S proteasome complex have been developed and tested for anti-tumor activities. These proteasome inhibitors have displayed impressive anti-tumor functions by inducing apoptosis in different tumor types. Further, the proteasome inhibitors have been shown to induce cell cycle arrest, and inhibit angiogenesis, cell-cell adhesion, cell migration, immune and inflammatory responses, and DNA repair response. A number of proteasome inhibitors are now in clinical trials to treat multiple myeloma and solid tumors. Many other proteasome inhibitors with different efficiencies are being developed and tested for anti-tumor activities. Several proteasome inhibitors currently in clinical trials have shown significantly improved anti-tumor activities when combined with other drugs such as histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors, Akt (protein kinase B) inhibitors, DNA damaging agents, Hsp90 (heat shock protein 90) inhibitors, and lenalidomide. The proteasome inhibitor bortezomib is now in the clinic to treat multiple myeloma and mantle cell lymphoma. Here, we discuss the 26S proteasome complex in carcinogenesis and different proteasome inhibitors with their potential therapeutic applications in treatment of numerous cancers.

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