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Critical analysis of the potential for targeting STAT3 in human malignancy

Authors Peyser ND, Grandis JR

Received 10 May 2013

Accepted for publication 14 June 2013

Published 30 July 2013 Volume 2013:6 Pages 999—1010


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 4

Noah D Peyser, Jennifer R Grandis

Departments of Otolaryngology and Pharmacology and Chemical Biology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA, USA

Abstract: The signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT) family of proteins was originally discovered in the context of normal cell biology where they function to transduce intracellular and extracellular signals to the nucleus, ultimately leading to transcription of specific target genes and downstream phenotypic effects. It was quickly appreciated that the STATs, especially STAT3, play a fundamental role in human malignancy. In contrast to normal biology in which transient STAT3 signaling is strictly regulated by a tightly coordinated network of activators and deactivators, STAT3 is constitutively activated in human malignancies. Constitutive STAT3 signaling has been associated with many cancerous phenotypes across nearly all human cancers, including the upregulation of cell growth, proliferation, survival, and motility, among others. Studies involving candidate preclinical STAT3 inhibitors have further demonstrated that the reversal of these phenotypes results from pharmacologic or genetic inhibition of STAT3, suggesting that STAT3 may be a promising target for clinical interventions. Indeed, a Phase 0 clinical trial involving a STAT3 decoy oligonucleotide demonstrated that STAT3 is a druggable target in human tumors. Because of the ubiquity of overactive STAT3 in cancer, its role in promoting a wide variety of cancerous phenotypes, and the strong clinical and preclinical studies performed to date, STAT3 represents a promising target for the development of inhibitors for the treatment of human cancers.

Keywords: cancer, target, STAT3, transcription factor

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