Focal adhesion kinase: A potential target in cancer therapy

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Focal adhesion kinase (FAK) is a non-receptor tyrosine kinase that plays an important role in signal transduction pathways that are initiated at sites of integrin-mediated cell adhesions and by growth factor receptors. FAK is a key regulator of survival, proliferation, migration and invasion: processes that are all involved in the development and progression of cancer. FAK is also linked to oncogenes at both a biochemical and functional level. Moreover, overexpression and/or increased activity of FAK is common in a wide variety of human cancers, implicating a role for FAK in carcinogenesis. Given the important role of FAK in a large number of processes involved in tumorigenesis, metastasis and survival signalling FAK should be regarded as a potential target in the development of anti-cancer drugs. Therefore, selective inhibitors of FAK need to be developed. Combination of these selective FAK inhibitors with cytotoxic agents could be a very promising anti-cancer therapy.

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