Role of DNA-dependent protein kinase catalytic subunit in cancer development and treatment
DNA-dependent protein kinase catalytic subunit (DNA-PKcs), a key component of the non-homologous end-joining (NHEJ) pathway, is involved in DNA double-strand break repair, immunocompetence, genomic integrity, and epidermal growth factor receptor signaling. Clinical studies indicate that expression and activity of DNA-PKcs is correlated with cancer progression and response to treatment. Various anti-DNA-PKcs strategies have been developed and tested in preclinical studies to exploit the benefit of DNA-PKcs inhibition in sensitization of radiotherapy and in combined modality therapy with other antitumor agents. In this article, we review the association between DNA-PKcs and cancer development and discuss current approaches and mechanisms for inhibition of DNA-PKcs. The future challenges are to understand how DNA-PKcs activity is correlated with cancer susceptibility and to identify those patients who would most benefit from DNA-PKcs inhibition.