The protein kinase family, one of the largest gene families in eukaryotes, plays an important role in regulating various cellular processes such as cell proliferation, cell death, cell cycle progression, differentiation and cell survival. Therefore, it is not surprising that the deregulation of many kinases is usually directly linked to cancer development. In all solid tumors, changes in protein kinase expression levels and activities, as well as alterations in the degree of posttranslational modifications can contribute to cancer development. Consequently, the identification of molecular targets and signaling pathways specific to cancer cells is becoming more and more important for cancer drug development and cancer therapies. Inhibition of various protein kinases has already been investigated in many pre-clinical and clinical trials targeting all stages of signal transduction, demonstrating promising results in cancer therapy. Conventional chemotherapeutics are often ineffective as well as harmful; hence a combination of both chemotherapeutics and protein kinase inhibitors may result in new and more successful therapeutic approaches. In this review we focus on protein kinases involved in different signaling pathways and their alterations in solid tumors.
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