p21-activated kinase 1: PAK'ed with potential

Oncotarget. 2011 Jun;2(6):491-6. doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.271.


The p21-activated kinases (PAKs) are central players in growth factor signaling networks and morphogenetic processes that control proliferation, cell polarity, invasion and actin cytoskeleton organization. This raises the possibility that interfering with PAK activity may produce significant anti-tumor activity. In this perspective, we summarize recent data concerning the contribution of the PAK family member, PAK1, in growth factor signaling and tumorigenesis. We further discuss mechanisms by which inhibition of PAK1 can arrest tumor growth and promote cell apoptosis, and the types of cancers in which PAK1 inhibition may hold promise.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Apoptosis / genetics
  • Apoptosis / physiology
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Drug Discovery* / methods
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • p21-Activated Kinases / antagonists & inhibitors
  • p21-Activated Kinases / genetics
  • p21-Activated Kinases / metabolism
  • p21-Activated Kinases / physiology*


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors
  • p21-Activated Kinases