The balance of Polo-like kinase 1 in tumorigenesis

Cell Div. 2009 Jan 22;4:4. doi: 10.1186/1747-1028-4-4.


Polo-like kinase 1 (Plk1) belongs to a family of conserved serine/threonine kinases with a polo-box domain, which have similar but non-overlapping functions in the cell cycle progression. Plk1 plays a key role to ensure the normal mitosis. Interestingly, overexpression of Plk1 is associated with tumor development and could serve as a prognostic marker for many cancers. Due to Plk1 overexpression, several Plk1 inhibitors have been developed and tested for the cancer treatment. However, in a recent study, it has been suggested that down-regulation of Plk1 could also induce aneuploidy and tumor formation in vivo. Therefore, a normal level of Plk1 is important for mitosis. And caution should be taken when Plk1 inhibitors are used in the clinical trial and their side effects including tumorigenesis should be carefully evaluated.