Deregulation of several translation initiation factors occurs in numerous types of cancers. Translation initiation factors are not merely ancillary players in cancer development and progression, but rather, they are key participants in cellular transformation and tumor development. In fact, the altered expression of translation initiation factors is involved in cancer cell survival, metastasis and tumor angiogenesis. Although the exact mechanisms remain to be fully characterized, translation initiation factors comprise novel targets for pharmacologic intervention. Here we review the most recently established roles of initiation factors in cancer development and progression, as well as unique methods used to study translational regulation.
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