Cancer and heart disease are leading causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide. These diseases have common risk factors, common molecular signaling pathways that are central to their pathogenesis, and even some disease phenotypes that are interdependent. Thus, a detailed understanding of common regulators is critical for the development of new and synergistic therapeutic strategies. The Raf kinase inhibitory protein (RKIP) is a regulator of the cellular kinome that functions to maintain cellular robustness and prevent the progression of diseases including heart disease and cancer. Two of the key signaling pathways controlled by RKIP are the β-adrenergic receptor (βAR) signaling to protein kinase A (PKA), particularly in the heart, and the MAP kinase cascade Raf/MEK/ERK1/2 that regulates multiple diseases. The goal of this review is to discuss how we can leverage RKIP to suppress cancer without incurring deleterious effects on the heart. Specifically, we discuss: (1) How RKIP functions to either suppress or activate βAR (PKA) and ERK1/2 signaling; (2) How we can prevent cancer-promoting kinase signaling while at the same time avoiding cardiotoxicity.
Keywords: ERK1/2; PKA; RKIP; cancer; heart failure; βAR.