The Role of Cyclic Nucleotide Signaling Pathways in Cancer: Targets for Prevention and Treatment

Cancers (Basel). 2014 Feb 26;6(1):436-58. doi: 10.3390/cancers6010436.

Abstract

For more than four decades, the cyclic nucleotides cyclic AMP (cAMP) and cyclic GMP (cGMP) have been recognized as important signaling molecules within cells. Under normal physiological conditions, cyclic nucleotides regulate a myriad of biological processes such as cell growth and adhesion, energy homeostasis, neuronal signaling, and muscle relaxation. In addition, altered cyclic nucleotide signaling has been observed in a number of pathophysiological conditions, including cancer. While the distinct molecular alterations responsible for these effects vary depending on the specific cancer type, several studies have demonstrated that activation of cyclic nucleotide signaling through one of three mechanisms-induction of cyclic nucleotide synthesis, inhibition of cyclic nucleotide degradation, or activation of cyclic nucleotide receptors-is sufficient to inhibit proliferation and activate apoptosis in many types of cancer cells. These findings suggest that targeting cyclic nucleotide signaling can provide a strategy for the discovery of novel agents for the prevention and/or treatment of selected cancers.