3 years ago

Cyclin-Dependent Kinase 8: A New Hope in Targeted Cancer Therapy?

Cyclin-Dependent
Kinase 8: A New Hope in Targeted
Cancer Therapy?
Shudong Wang, Theodosia Teo, Malika Kumarasiri, Mingfeng Yu, Stephen Philip
Cyclin-dependent kinase 8 (CDK8) plays a vital role in regulating transcription either through its association with the Mediator complex or by phosphorylating transcription factors. Myriads of genetic and biochemical studies have established CDK8 as a key oncogenic driver in many cancers. Specifically, CDK8-mediated activation of oncogenic Wnt-β-catenin signaling, transcription of estrogen-inducible genes, and suppression of super enhancer-associated genes contributes to oncogenesis in colorectal, breast, and hematological malignancies, respectively. However, while most research supports the role of CDK8 as an oncogene, other work has raised the possibility of its contrary function. The diverse biological functions of CDK8 and its seemingly context-specific roles in different types of cancers have spurred a great amount of interest and perhaps an even greater amount of controversy in the development of CDK8 inhibitors as potential cancer therapeutic agents. Herein, we review the latest landscape of CDK8 biology and its involvement in carcinogenesis. We dissect current efforts in discovering CDK8 inhibitors and attempt to provide an outlook at the future of CDK8-targeted cancer therapies.

Publisher URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.jmedchem.7b00901

DOI: 10.1021/acs.jmedchem.7b00901

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