A Driver Never Works Alone-Interplay Networks of Mutant p53, MYC, RAS, and Other Universal Oncogenic Drivers in Human Cancer

Cancers (Basel). 2020 Jun 11;12(6):1532. doi: 10.3390/cancers12061532.


The knowledge accumulating on the occurrence and mechanisms of the activation of oncogenes in human neoplasia necessitates an increasingly detailed understanding of their systemic interactions. None of the known oncogenic drivers work in isolation from the other oncogenic pathways. The cooperation between these pathways is an indispensable element of a multistep carcinogenesis, which apart from inactivation of tumor suppressors, always includes the activation of two or more proto-oncogenes. In this review we focus on representative examples of the interaction of major oncogenic drivers with one another. The drivers are selected according to the following criteria: (1) the highest frequency of known activation in human neoplasia (by mutations or otherwise), (2) activation in a wide range of neoplasia types (universality) and (3) as a part of a distinguishable pathway, (4) being a known cause of phenotypic addiction of neoplastic cells and thus a promising therapeutic target. Each of these universal oncogenic factors-mutant p53, KRAS and CMYC proteins, telomerase ribonucleoprotein, proteasome machinery, HSP molecular chaperones, NF-κB and WNT pathways, AP-1 and YAP/TAZ transcription factors and non-coding RNAs-has a vast network of molecular interrelations and common partners. Understanding this network allows for the hunt for novel therapeutic targets and protocols to counteract drug resistance in a clinical neoplasia treatment.

Keywords: MYC; RAS; cancer; mutant p53; oncogene; transformation.

Publication types

  • Review