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Open Access Targeting Tumor Suppressor p53 for Cancer Therapy: Strategies, Challenges and Opportunities

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p53 is one of the most important tumor suppressor genes that is frequently mutated in human cancers. Generally, p53 functions as a transcription factor that is stabilized and activated by various genotoxic and cellular stress signals, such as DNA damage, hypoxia, oncogene activation and nutrient deprivation, consequently leading to cell cycle arrest, apoptosis, senescence and metabolic adaptation. p53 not only becomes functionally deficient in most cancers, but not infrequently mutant p53 also acquires dominant negative activity and oncogenic properties. p53 has remained an attractive target for cancer therapy. Strategies targeting p53 have been developed including gene therapy to restore p53 function, inhibition of p53-MDM2 interaction, restoration of mutant p53 to wild-type p53, targeting p53 family proteins, eliminating mutant p53, as well as p53-based vaccines. Some of these p53-targeted therapies have entered clinical trials. We discuss the therapeutic potential of p53, with particular focus on the therapeutic strategies to rescue p53 inactivation in human cancers. In addition, we discuss the challenges of p53-targeted therapy and new opportunities for the future.
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Keywords: MDM2; Tumor suppressor; mutant p53; p53; p53 family protein; p53-targeted therapy; restoration of p53

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2014

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  • Current Drug Targets aims to cover the latest and most outstanding developments on the medicinal chemistry and pharmacology of molecular drug targets e.g. disease specific proteins, receptors, enzymes, genes. Each issue of the journal will be devoted to a single timely topic, with series of in-depth reviews, written by leaders in the field, covering a range of current topics on drug targets. These issues will be organized and led by a guest editor who is a recognized expert in the overall topic. As the discovery, identification, characterisation and validation of novel human drug targets for drug discovery continues to grow; this journal will be essential reading for all pharmaceutical scientists involved in drug discovery and development.
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