Inhibiting the p53-MDM2 interaction: an important target for cancer therapy

Nat Rev Cancer. 2003 Feb;3(2):102-9. doi: 10.1038/nrc991.


p53 is an attractive therapeutic target in oncology because its tumour-suppressor activity can be stimulated to eradicate tumour cells. Inhibiting the p53-MDM2 interaction is a promising approach for activating p53, because this association is well characterized at the structural and biological levels. MDM2 inhibits p53 transcriptional activity, favours its nuclear export and stimulates its degradation, so inhibiting the p53-MDM2 interaction with synthetic molecules should lead to p53-mediated cell-cycle arrest or apoptosis in p53-positive stressed cells.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Active Transport, Cell Nucleus
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Cell Cycle / drug effects
  • Genes, p53*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasm Proteins / genetics
  • Neoplasm Proteins / metabolism
  • Neoplasms / genetics
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Nuclear Proteins*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / metabolism*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-mdm2
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / metabolism*


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53
  • MDM2 protein, human
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-mdm2