Challenges in validating candidate therapeutic targets in cancer

Elife. 2018 Feb 8;7:e32402. doi: 10.7554/eLife.32402.


More than 30 published articles have suggested that a protein kinase called MELK is an attractive therapeutic target in human cancer, but three recent reports describe compelling evidence that it is not. These reports highlight the caveats associated with some of the research tools that are commonly used to validate candidate therapeutic targets in cancer research.

Keywords: cancer biology; melk; protein kinase; replication; reproducibility; scientific publishing.

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Drug Discovery / methods*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / antagonists & inhibitors*


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • MELK protein, human
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases