Protein tyrosine phosphatases (PTP) are exciting and novel targets for cancer drug discovery that work in concert with protein tyrosine kinases (PTK) in controlling cellular homeostasis. Given the activating role that some PTKs play in initiating growth factor–mediated cellular processes, PTPs are usually perceived as the negative regulators of these events and therefore tumor suppressive in nature. However, mounting evidence indicate that PTPs do not always antagonize the activity of PTKs in regulating tyrosine phosphorylation, but can also play dominant roles in the initiation and progression of signaling cascades that regulate cell functions. It follows, therefore, that PTP malfunction can actively contribute to a host of human disorders, in particular, cancer, metabolic syndromes, and autoimmune diseases. The Src homology domain containing phosphatase 2 (SHP2) and the three-membered family of phosphatases of regenerating liver (PRL) are infamously oncogenic members of the PTP superfamily. Both are established regulators of major cancer pathways such as Ras/ ERK1/2, Src, JAK/STAT, JNK, NF-kB, and PTEN/PI3K/AKT. Furthermore, upregulation, mutation, or other dysregulation of these PTPs has been positively correlated with cancer initiation and progression. This review will provide topical coverage of target validation and drug discovery efforts made in targeting these oncogenic PTPs as compelling candidates for cancer therapy.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research