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Cancer has been described as not one disease, but several, each with unique characteristics, symptoms, prognostics and outcomes. Underlying this complexity is a differential expression of genes, leading to a motley of phenotypes which orchestrate the hallmarks of cancer. The idea of treating, suppressing or even preventing all forms of cancer with a single form of therapy seems untenable given the complexities of these gene expression profiles. However, recent advances in the study of immediate early genes, a family of genes that are rapidly and transiently upregulated following an external stimulus such as growth factors, hormones or stress, and their ubiquitous involvement in regulating oncogenomic responses may lend itself to new and unique therapies. At the very least, understanding and targeting immediate early gene expression and function remains an untapped area in cancer prevention research, and could very well provide new resources in cancer treatment and new perspectives in directed cancer suppression. In this review, we will discuss the critical role immediate early genes play in cancer progression, and provide specific examples of immediate early gene function and inhibition. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Shannon Healy, Protiti Khan, James R Davie. Immediate early response genes and cell transformation. Pharmacology & therapeutics. 2013 Jan;137(1):64-77

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PMID: 22983151

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