Research Perspectives:

p21-activated kinase 1: PAK’ed with potential

Christy Ong, Adrian Jubb, Wei Zhou, Peter Haverty, Adrian Harris, Marcia Belvin, Lori Friedman, Hartmut Koeppen and Klaus Hoeflich _

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Oncotarget. 2011; 2:491-496. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.271

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Christy C. Ong1,*, Adrian M. Jubb2,*, Wei Zhou1, Peter M. Haverty3, Adrian L. Harris2, Marcia Belvin1, Lori S. Friedman1, Hartmut Koeppen4, Klaus P. Hoeflich1,5

1 Department of Translational Oncology, Genentech, Inc., South San Francisco, CA 94080, USA

2 The Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, University of Oxford, Headington, Oxford OX3 9DS, UK

3 Department of Bioinformatics, Genentech, Inc., South San Francisco, CA 94080, USA

4 Department of Pathology, Genentech, Inc., South San Francisco, CA 94080, USA

* These authors contributed equally to this work.

Keywords: PAK1, apoptosis, squamous, lung cancer, breast cancer

Received: May 3, 2011; Accepted: June 2, 2011; Published: June 7, 2011;


Klaus P. Hoeflich, e-mail:


The p21-activated kinases (PAKs) are central players in growth factor signaling networks and morphogenetic processes that control proliferation, cell polarity, invasion and actin cytoskeleton organization. This raises the possibility that interfering with PAK activity may produce significant anti-tumor activity. In this perspective, we summarize recent data concerning the contribution of the PAK family member, PAK1, in growth factor signaling and tumorigenesis. We further discuss mechanisms by which inhibition of PAK1 can arrest tumor growth and promote cell apoptosis, and the types of cancers in which PAK1 inhibition may hold promise.

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