Myc proteins as therapeutic targets

Oncogene. 2010 Mar 4;29(9):1249-59. doi: 10.1038/onc.2009.512. Epub 2010 Jan 25.


Myc proteins (c-myc, Mycn and Mycl) target proliferative and apoptotic pathways vital for progression in cancer. Amplification of the MYCN gene has emerged as one of the clearest indicators of aggressive and chemotherapy-refractory disease in children with neuroblastoma, the most common extracranial solid tumor of childhood. Phosphorylation and ubiquitin-mediated modulation of Myc protein influence stability and represent potential targets for therapeutic intervention. Phosphorylation of Myc proteins is controlled in-part by the receptor tyrosine kinase/phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/Akt/mTOR signaling, with additional contributions from Aurora A kinase. Myc proteins regulate apoptosis in part through interactions with the p53/Mdm2/Arf signaling pathway. Mutation in p53 is commonly observed in patients with relapsed neuroblastoma, contributing to both biology and therapeutic resistance. This review examines Myc function and regulation in neuroblastoma, and discusses emerging therapies that target Mycn.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Child
  • Drug Delivery Systems*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic / drug effects*
  • Genes, myc / drug effects*
  • Genes, myc / physiology
  • Humans
  • Phosphoinositide-3 Kinase Inhibitors*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-myc / administration & dosage*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-myc / pharmacology
  • Signal Transduction / genetics*
  • Transcriptional Activation / genetics*


  • Phosphoinositide-3 Kinase Inhibitors
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-myc