The emerging roles and therapeutic potential of cyclin-dependent kinase 11 (CDK11) in human cancer

Yubing Zhou, Jacson K. Shen, Francis J. Hornicek, Quancheng Kan and Zhenfeng Duan _

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Oncotarget. 2016; 7:40846-40859. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.8519

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Yubing Zhou1,2, Jacson K. Shen2, Francis J. Hornicek2, Quancheng Kan1 and Zhenfeng Duan1,2

1 Department of Pharmacy, The First Affiliated Hospital of Zhengzhou University, Zhengzhou, Henan, People’s Republic of China

2 Sarcoma Biology Laboratory, Center for Sarcoma and Connective Tissue Oncology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, United States of America

Correspondence to:

Quancheng Kan, email:

Zhenfeng Duan, email:

Keywords: CDK11, CDKs inhibitor, cell cycle, therapeutic target, cancer therapy

Received: January 20, 2016 Accepted: March 28, 2016 Published: March 31, 2016


Overexpression and/or hyperactivation of cyclin-dependent kinases (CDKs) are common features of most cancer types. CDKs have been shown to play important roles in tumor cell proliferation and growth by controlling cell cycle, transcription, and RNA splicing. CDK4/6 inhibitor palbociclib has been recently approved by the FDA for the treatment of breast cancer. CDK11 is a serine/threonine protein kinase in the CDK family and recent studies have shown that CDK11 also plays critical roles in cancer cell growth and proliferation. A variety of genetic and epigenetic events may cause universal overexpression of CDK11 in human cancers. Inhibition of CDK11 has been shown to lead to cancer cell death and apoptosis. Significant evidence has suggested that CDK11 may be a novel and promising therapeutic target for the treatment of cancers. This review will focus on the emerging roles of CDK11 in human cancers, and provide a proof-of-principle for continued efforts toward targeting CDK11 for effective cancer treatment.

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PII: 8519