Targeting Stat3 in cancer therapy

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Stat3 is constitutively activated in many human cancers where it functions as a critical mediator of oncogenic signaling through transcriptional activation of genes encoding apoptosis inhibitors (e.g. Bcl-xL, Mcl-1 and survivin), cell-cycle regulators (e.g. cyclin D1 and c-Myc) and inducers of angiogenesis (e.g. vascular endothelial growth factor). This article reviews several approaches that have been pursued for targeting Stat3 in cancer therapy including antisense strategies, tyrosine kinase inhibition, decoy phosphopeptides, decoy duplex oligonucleotides and G-quartet oligodeoxynucleotides (GQ-ODN). The GQ-ODN strategy is reviewed in somewhat greater detail than the others because it includes a novel system that effectively delivers drug into cells and tissues, addresses successfully the issue of specificity of targeting Stat3 versus Stat1, and has demonstrated efficacy in vivo.

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