Potential molecular targeting of splice variants for cancer treatment
- Author(s): Blair, Christopher A
- Zi, Xiaolin
- et al.
Array of new targets for investigation as cancer therapeutics has great potential to grow as new splice-variants are identified and characterized in cancer cell-lines and tumor samples. Tumor-specific splice variants are being discovered at an increasing rate and their functions are also investigated in cancer progression. The tumor-specific splice variants whose expression patterns and activities are successfully characterized may become attractive targets for ablation or splicing modification. The extreme specificity of their expression suggests that a variant-specific treatment may allow for targeting of cancerous cells with minimal impact to healthy tissues. Clinical investigation of applying antisense oligonucleotides to down-regulate mRNAs that contribute to cancer cell survival and to modify splicing patterns in muscular dystrophy has shown promising results. These results show that antisense therapy may be applied effectively and safely in humans. As these treatment strategies continue to improve and novel tumor-specific splice-variants are identified, modification of splicing patterns will become an important field of investigation to develop more effective and safe cancer therapies.