GSK-3: An important kinase in colon and pancreatic cancers.

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Surgery, Oncology

Journal Title

Biochim Biophys Acta Mol Cell Res


In this review, the role of glycogen synthase kinase 3 (GSK-3) in pancreatic and colon cancers will be explored. GSK-3 plays a fundamental role in many metabolic processes, primarily as the final enzyme in glycogen synthesis. Active β-catenin represents the final step for the transcription of Wnt target genes. Both GSK-3 and β-catenin are key in the neoplastic transformation and tumorigenesis of human cells. Despite the advances in diagnosis and treatment of pancreatic malignancies, survival remains dismal. Continued poor outcomes are attributable to tumor cell resistance and high frequency of metastatic disease. Survival for patients diagnosed with colon cancer is often excellent, and many patients achieve long term remission. However, the incidence of colon cancers continues to increase, especially among the young. The future use of targeted therapy in pancreatic and colo-rectal cancer utilizing GSK-3 may be promising, pending a more thorough understanding of potential downstream effects. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: GSK-3 and related kinases in cancer, neurological and other disorders edited by James McCubrey, Agnieszka Gizak and Dariusz Rakus.



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