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Role of p-21-Activated Kinases in Cancer Progression

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)347-387
Number of pages41
JournalInternationalReview of Cell and Molecular Biology
Early online date13 Feb 2014
E-pub ahead of print13 Feb 2014

King's Authors


The p-21-activated kinases (PAKs) are downstream effectors of Rho GTPases Rac and Cdc42. The PAK family consists of six members which are segregated into two subgroups (Group I and Group II) based on sequence homology. Group I PAKs (PAK1-3) are the most extensively studied but there is increasing interest in the functionality of Group II PAKs (PAK4-6). The PAK family proteins are thought to play an important role in many different cellular processes, some of which have particular significance in the context of cancer progression. This review explores established and more recent data, linking the PAK family kinases to cancer progression including expression profiles, evasion of apoptosis, promotion of cell survival, and regulation of cell invasion. Finally, we discuss attempts to therapeutically target the PAK family and outline the major obstacles that still need to be overcome.

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