Ascending the PEAK1 toward targeting TGFβ during cancer progression: Recent advances and future perspectives

Farhana Runa, Yvess Adamian, Jonathan Kelber


Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States. Mortality in patients with solid, epithelial-derived tumors strongly correlates with disease stage and the systemic metastatic load. In such cancers, notable morphological and molecular changes have been attributed to cells as they pass through a continuum of epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) states and many of these changes are essential for metastasis. While cancer metastasis is a complex cascade that is regulated by cell-autonomous and microenvironmental influences, it is well-accepted that understanding and controlling metastatic disease is a viable method for increasing patient survival. In the past 5 years, the novel non-receptor tyrosine kinase PEAK1 has surfaced as a central regulator of tumor progression and metastasis in the context of solid, epithelial cancers. Here, we review this literature with a special focus on our recent work demonstrating that PEAK1 mediates non-canonical pro-tumorigenic TGFβ signaling and is an intracellular control point between tumor cells and their extracellular microenvironment. We conclude with a brief discussion of potential applications derived from our current understanding of PEAK1 biology.

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Copyright (c) 2016 Farhana Runa, Yvess Adamian, Jonathan Kelber

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