Src kinases as therapeutic targets for cancer

Nat Rev Clin Oncol. 2009 Oct;6(10):587-95. doi: 10.1038/nrclinonc.2009.129.


Src family kinases (SFKs) have a critical role in cell adhesion, invasion, proliferation, survival, and angiogenesis during tumor development. SFKs comprise nine family members that share similar structure and function. Overexpression or high activation of SFKs occurs frequently in tumor tissues and they are central mediators in multiple signaling pathways that are important in oncogenesis. SFKs can interact with tyrosine kinase receptors, such as EGFR and the VEGF receptor. SFKs can affect cell proliferation via the Ras/ERK/MAPK pathway and can regulate gene expression via transcription factors such as STAT molecules. SFKs can also affect cell adhesion and migration via interaction with integrins, actins, GTPase-activating proteins, scaffold proteins, such as p130(CAS) and paxillin, and kinases such as focal adhesion kinases. Furthermore, SFKs can regulate angiogenesis via gene expression of angiogenic growth factors, such as fibroblast growth factor, VEGF, and interleukin 8. On the basis of these important findings, small-molecule SFK inhibitors have been developed and are undergoing early phase clinical testing. In preclinical studies these agents can suppress tumor growth and metastases. The agents seem to be safe in humans and could add to the therapeutic arsenal against subsets of cancers.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Actins / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Cell Adhesion
  • Cell Movement
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Cell Survival
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Crk-Associated Substrate Protein / metabolism
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical
  • Enzyme Activation
  • Extracellular Signal-Regulated MAP Kinases / metabolism
  • Focal Adhesion Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / metabolism
  • GTPase-Activating Proteins / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Genes, ras
  • Humans
  • Integrins / metabolism
  • MAP Kinase Signaling System
  • Neoplasm Metastasis / drug therapy
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Paxillin / metabolism
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction
  • Time Factors
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism
  • src-Family Kinases / antagonists & inhibitors
  • src-Family Kinases / chemistry
  • src-Family Kinases / genetics*
  • src-Family Kinases / metabolism*


  • Actins
  • Crk-Associated Substrate Protein
  • GTPase-Activating Proteins
  • Integrins
  • Paxillin
  • Transcription Factors
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases
  • Focal Adhesion Protein-Tyrosine Kinases
  • src-Family Kinases
  • Extracellular Signal-Regulated MAP Kinases