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      Src Family Kinases as Therapeutic Targets in Advanced Solid Tumors: What We Have Learned So Far

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          Src is the prototypal member of Src Family tyrosine Kinases (SFKs), a large non-receptor kinase class that controls multiple signaling pathways in animal cells. SFKs activation is necessary for the mitogenic signal from many growth factors, but also for the acquisition of migratory and invasive phenotype. Indeed, oncogenic activation of SFKs has been demonstrated to play an important role in solid cancers; promoting tumor growth and formation of distant metastases. Several drugs targeting SFKs have been developed and tested in preclinical models and many of them have successfully reached clinical use in hematologic cancers. Although in solid tumors SFKs inhibitors have consistently confirmed their ability in blocking cancer cell progression in several experimental models; their utilization in clinical trials has unveiled unexpected complications against an effective utilization in patients. In this review, we summarize basic molecular mechanisms involving SFKs in cancer spreading and metastasization; and discuss preclinical and clinical data highlighting the main challenges for their future application as therapeutic targets in solid cancer progression

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          Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition in Cancer: Parallels Between Normal Development and Tumor Progression

          From the earliest stages of embryonic development, cells of epithelial and mesenchymal origin contribute to the structure and function of developing organs. However, these phenotypes are not always permanent, and instead, under the appropriate conditions, epithelial and mesenchymal cells convert between these two phenotypes. These processes, termed Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition (EMT), or the reverse Mesenchymal-Epithelial Transition (MET), are required for complex body patterning and morphogenesis. In addition, epithelial plasticity and the acquisition of invasive properties without the full commitment to a mesenchymal phenotype are critical in development, particularly during branching morphogenesis in the mammary gland. Recent work in cancer has identified an analogous plasticity of cellular phenotypes whereby epithelial cancer cells acquire mesenchymal features that permit escape from the primary tumor. Because local invasion is thought to be a necessary first step in metastatic dissemination, EMT and epithelial plasticity are hypothesized to contribute to tumor progression. Similarities between developmental and oncogenic EMT have led to the identification of common contributing pathways, suggesting that the reactivation of developmental pathways in breast and other cancers contributes to tumor progression. For example, developmental EMT regulators including Snail/Slug, Twist, Six1, and Cripto, along with developmental signaling pathways including TGF-β and Wnt/β-catenin, are misexpressed in breast cancer and correlate with poor clinical outcomes. This review focuses on the parallels between epithelial plasticity/EMT in the mammary gland and other organs during development, and on a selection of developmental EMT regulators that are misexpressed specifically during breast cancer.
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            Discovery of N-(2-chloro-6-methyl- phenyl)-2-(6-(4-(2-hydroxyethyl)- piperazin-1-yl)-2-methylpyrimidin-4- ylamino)thiazole-5-carboxamide (BMS-354825), a dual Src/Abl kinase inhibitor with potent antitumor activity in preclinical assays.

            A series of substituted 2-(aminopyridyl)- and 2-(aminopyrimidinyl)thiazole-5-carboxamides was identified as potent Src/Abl kinase inhibitors with excellent antiproliferative activity against hematological and solid tumor cell lines. Compound 13 was orally active in a K562 xenograft model of chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML), demonstrating complete tumor regressions and low toxicity at multiple dose levels. On the basis of its robust in vivo activity and favorable pharmacokinetic profile, 13 was selected for additional characterization for oncology indications.
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              Src kinases as therapeutic targets for cancer.

              Src family kinases (SFKs) have a critical role in cell adhesion, invasion, proliferation, survival, and angiogenesis during tumor development. SFKs comprise nine family members that share similar structure and function. Overexpression or high activation of SFKs occurs frequently in tumor tissues and they are central mediators in multiple signaling pathways that are important in oncogenesis. SFKs can interact with tyrosine kinase receptors, such as EGFR and the VEGF receptor. SFKs can affect cell proliferation via the Ras/ERK/MAPK pathway and can regulate gene expression via transcription factors such as STAT molecules. SFKs can also affect cell adhesion and migration via interaction with integrins, actins, GTPase-activating proteins, scaffold proteins, such as p130(CAS) and paxillin, and kinases such as focal adhesion kinases. Furthermore, SFKs can regulate angiogenesis via gene expression of angiogenic growth factors, such as fibroblast growth factor, VEGF, and interleukin 8. On the basis of these important findings, small-molecule SFK inhibitors have been developed and are undergoing early phase clinical testing. In preclinical studies these agents can suppress tumor growth and metastases. The agents seem to be safe in humans and could add to the therapeutic arsenal against subsets of cancers.

                Author and article information

                Cancers (Basel)
                Cancers (Basel)
                02 June 2020
                June 2020
                : 12
                : 6
                [1 ]Department of Biotechnological and Applied Clinical Sciences, University of L’Aquila,67100 L’Aquila, Italy; s.martellucci@ (S.M.); letizia.clementi@ (L.C.); samantha.sabetta94@ (S.S.)
                [2 ]Biomedicine and Advanced Technologies Rieti Center “Sabina Universitas”, 02100 Rieti, Italy; v.mattei@
                [3 ]Department of Biological and Ecological Science, University of Tuscia, 01100 Viterbo, Italy; lor.botta83@
                Author notes
                [* ]Correspondence: adriano.angelucci@ ; Tel.: +39-0862-433-550
                © 2020 by the authors.

                Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (



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