The p53 tumor suppressor is a key transcription factor regulating cellular pathways such as DNA repair, cell cycle, apoptosis, angiogenesis, and senescence. It acts as an important defense mechanism against cancer onset and progression, and is negatively regulated by interaction with the oncoprotein MDM2. In human cancers, the TP53 gene is frequently mutated or deleted, or the wild-type p53 function is inhibited by high levels of MDM2, leading to downregulation of tumor suppressive p53 pathways. Thus, the inhibition of MDM2-p53 interaction presents an appealing therapeutic strategy for the treatment of cancer. However, recent studies have revealed the MDM2-p53 interaction to be more complex involving multiple levels of regulation by numerous cellular proteins and epigenetic mechanisms, making it imperative to reexamine this intricate interplay from a holistic viewpoint. This review aims to highlight the multifaceted network of molecules regulating the MDM2-p53 axis to better understand the pathway and exploit it for anticancer therapy.
Keywords: MDM2-p53 interaction; cancer therapy; oncogene; tumor suppressor.