While conventional MAP kinase pathways are one of the most highly studied signal transduction molecules, less is known about the MEK5 signaling pathway. This pathway has been shown to play a role in normal cell growth cycles, survival and differentiation. The MEK5 pathway is also believed to mediate the effects of a number of oncogenes. MEK5 is the upstream activator of ERK5 in many epithelial cells. Activation of the MEK-MAPK pathway is a frequent event in malignant tumor formation and contributes to chemoresistance and anti-apoptotic signaling. This pathway may be involved in a number of more aggressive, metastatic varieties of cancer due to its role in cell survival, proliferation and EMT transitioning. Further study of this pathway may lead to new prognostic factors and new drug targets to combat more aggressive forms of cancer.
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