Protein kinases orchestrate the activation of signaling cascades in response to extracellular and intracellular stimuli to control cell growth, proliferation, and survival. The complexity of numerous intracellular signaling pathways is highlighted by the number of kinases encoded by the human genome (539) and the plethora of phosphorylation sites identified in phosphoproteomic studies. Perturbation of these signaling networks by mutations or abnormal protein expression underlies the cause of many diseases including cancer. Recent RNAi screens and cancer genomic sequencing studies have revealed that many more kinases than anticipated contribute to tumorigenesis and are potential targets for inhibitor drug development intervention. This review will highlight recent insights into known pathways essential for tumorigenesis and discuss exciting new pathways for therapeutic intervention.
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