The Notch signaling pathway represents a critical component in the molecular circuits that control cell fate during development. Aberrant activation of this pathway contributes to tumorigenesis. The role of Notch in human cancer has been highlighted recently by the presence of activating mutations and amplification of Notch genes in human cancer and by the demonstration that genes in the Notch signaling pathway could be potential therapeutic targets. It has become clear that one of the major therapeutic targets in the Notch pathway are the Notch receptors, in which γ-secretase inhibitors prevent the generation of the oncogenic (intracellular) domain of Notch molecules and suppress the Notch activity. This review article summarizes the biological roles of Notch molecules in cancer development with special emphasis on the promise and challenges in applying γ-secretase inhibitors as a new line of targeted therapeutic agents.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research