Protein kinase CK2 as regulator of cell survival: implications for cancer therapy

Curr Cancer Drug Targets. 2004 Feb;4(1):77-84. doi: 10.2174/1568009043481687.


Recent studies have generated sufficient information to warrant a consideration of protein kinase CK2 as a potential target for cancer therapy. CK2 is a ubiquitous and highly conserved protein serine/threonine kinase that has long been considered to play a role in cell growth and proliferation. It is essential for cell survival, and considerable evidence suggests that it can also exert potent suppression of apoptosis in cells. This is important since the cancer phenotype is characterized by deregulation of not only proliferation but also of apoptosis. In normal cells, the level of CK2 appears to be tightly regulated, and cells resist a change in their intrinsic level of CK2. However, in all the cancers that have been examined an elevation of CK2 has been observed. Further, it appears that modest deregulation in the CK2 expression imparts a potent oncogenic potential to the cells. Disruption of CK2 by treatment of cells with antisense CK2 results in induction of apoptosis in a time and dose-dependent manner. Thus, we propose that down-regulation of CK2 by employing specific strategies to deliver antisense CK2 in vivo could have a potential role in cancer therapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Casein Kinase II
  • Cell Survival / physiology
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / antagonists & inhibitors
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • Down-Regulation
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / enzymology
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism*


  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Casein Kinase II
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases