Nucleo-cytoplasmic transport as a therapeutic target of cancer

J Hematol Oncol. 2014 Dec 5;7:85. doi: 10.1186/s13045-014-0085-1.


Shuttling of specific proteins out of the nucleus is essential for the regulation of the cell cycle and proliferation of both normal and malignant tissues. Dysregulation of this fundamental process may affect many other important cellular processes such as tumor growth, inflammatory response, cell cycle, and apoptosis. It is known that XPO1 (Exportin-1/Chromosome Region Maintenance 1/CRM1) is the main mediator of nuclear export in many cell types. Nuclear proteins exported to the cytoplasm by XPO1 include the drug targets topoisomerase IIα (topo IIα) and BCR-ABL and tumor suppressor proteins such as Rb, APC, p53, p21, and p27. XPO1 can mediate cell proliferation through several pathways: (i) the sub-cellular localization of NES-containing oncogenes and tumor suppressor proteins, (ii) the control of the mitotic apparatus and chromosome segregation, and (iii) the maintenance of nuclear and chromosomal structures. The XPO1 protein is elevated in ovarian carcinoma, glioma, osteosarcoma, pancreatic and cervical cancer. There is a growing body of research indicating that XPO1 may have an important role as a prognostic marker in solid tumors. Because of this, nuclear export inhibition through XPO1 is a potential target for therapeutic intervention in many cancers. The best understood XPO1 inhibitors are the small molecule nuclear export inhibitors (NEIs; Leptomycin B and derivatives, ratjadones, PKF050-638, valtrate, ACA, CBS9106, selinexor/KPT-330, and verdinexor/KPT-335). Selinexor and verdinexor are orally bioavailable, highly potent, small molecules that are classified as Selective Inhibitors of Nuclear Export (SINE). KPT-330 is the only NEI currently in Phase I/II human clinical trials in hematological and solid cancers. Of all the potential targets in nuclear cytoplasmic transport, the nuclear export receptor XPO1 remains the best understood and most advanced therapeutic target for the treatment of cancer.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Active Transport, Cell Nucleus / drug effects
  • Active Transport, Cell Nucleus / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Karyopherins / metabolism*
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Neoplasms / physiopathology*
  • Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear / metabolism*


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Karyopherins
  • Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear
  • exportin 1 protein