STAT3 and metabolism: how many ways to use a single molecule?

Int J Cancer. 2014 Nov 1;135(9):1997-2003. doi: 10.1002/ijc.28767. Epub 2014 Feb 19.


The transcription factor Signal Transducer and Activator of Transcription (STAT)3 has been considered as a potential anticancer target since its first description as an oncogene in 1999, recently leading to STAT3 inhibitors been brought to clinical trial for the treatment of solid tumors. However, the past 14 years of intense basic research have uncovered novel STAT3-mediated pathways that could affect the outcome of the designed therapies while at the same time help designing function-specific inhibitors. Particularly intriguing are the recent findings that suggest profound implications of STAT3 with the regulation of cellular metabolism in both canonical, that is transcriptional, and non-canonical ways. Here, after a short description of the main known features of STAT3 signaling and function, we review the recent literature on the role of STAT3 in regulating cellular metabolism and discuss the potential consequences on the therapeutic approaches currently under clinical experimentation.

Keywords: STAT3; aging; cancer; clinical trial; inhibitor; metabolism.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • STAT3 Transcription Factor / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • STAT3 Transcription Factor / metabolism


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • STAT3 Transcription Factor