Too much of a good thing: the role of protein kinase CK2 in tumorigenesis and prospects for therapeutic inhibition of CK2

Biochim Biophys Acta. 2008 Jan;1784(1):33-47. doi: 10.1016/j.bbapap.2007.08.017. Epub 2007 Aug 30.


CK2 is a highly conserved protein serine/threonine kinase that is ubiquitously distributed in eukaryotes, constitutively active and has been implicated in multiple cellular functions, as well as in tumorigenesis and transformation. Elevated CK2 activity has been associated with the malignant transformation of several tissues and is associated with aggressive tumor behaviour. While the precise roles of CK2 in tumorigenesis remain incompletely understood, mounting evidence suggests a role for CK2 in the protection of cells from apoptosis via the regulation of tumor suppressor and oncogene activity. Consequently, CK2 has emerged as a potential therapeutic target, and strategies to inhibit CK2 have been ongoing in pre-clinical trials. This review will focus on published evidence highlighting the molecular mechanisms by which CK2 functions in the promotion of tumorigenesis, as well as review current strategies being used to inhibit CK2.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis
  • Casein Kinase II / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Casein Kinase II / metabolism*
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic*
  • Humans
  • NF-kappa B / metabolism
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Oncogenes
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors / chemistry
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors / metabolism*
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Signal Transduction
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins / metabolism
  • Wnt Proteins / metabolism


  • NF-kappa B
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins
  • Wnt Proteins
  • Casein Kinase II