Integrin-linked kinase, a promising cancer therapeutic target: biochemical and biological properties

Pharmacol Ther. Feb-Mar 2002;93(2-3):233-42. doi: 10.1016/s0163-7258(02)00192-4.


Integrin-linked kinase (ILK) is an ankyrin repeat-containing Ser/Thr kinase that interacts with the cytoplasmic domains of beta(1) and beta(3) integrins. ILK is widely expressed in tissues throughout the body, and, as might be expected, appears to mediate a diversity of functions relating to its role in coupling integrins and growth factor receptors to downstream signaling pathways. Through its downstream targets protein kinase B/Akt and glycogen synthase kinase-3beta, ILK appears to be involved in several oncogenesis-related events, including suppression of apoptosis and promotion of cell survival, as well as cell migration and invasion. Over-expression of ILK in epithelial cells results in anchorage-independent cell growth with increased cell cycle progression. Inoculation of nude mice with ILK over-expressing cells leads to tumor formation. Furthermore, increased ILK expression and activity have been correlated with malignancy in several human tumor types, including breast, prostate, brain, and colon carcinomas. Based on these findings, ILK represents an excellent therapeutic target for the prevention of tumor progression. Here, we provide an overview of the physical and biochemical properties of ILK, and present data describing the impact of small-molecule ILK inhibitors on several ILK-mediated cellular functions.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mice, Nude
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Phosphorylation
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases* / chemistry
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases* / physiology
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases* / therapeutic use
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects*


  • integrin-linked kinase
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases