STAT3 SIGNALING: Anticancer Strategies and Challenges

  1. Paul A. Johnston1,3 and
  2. Jennifer R. Grandis2
  1. 1 School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA
  2. 2 Departments of Pharmacology and Chemical Biology and Otolaryngology, School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA
  3. 3 University of Pittsburgh Drug Discovery Institute, School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA


Multiple lines of evidence place STAT3 at a central node in the development, progression, and maintenance of many human tumors, and STAT3 has been validated as an anti-cancer target in several contexts. STAT3 modulates the transcription of a variety of genes involved in the regulation of critical functions, including cell differentiation, proliferation, apoptosis, angiogenesis, metastasis, and immune responses. For many cancers, elevated levels of activated STAT3 have been associated with a poor prognosis. We review approaches that have been pursued to target STAT3, and we highlight some of the promises and challenges associated with developing an anticancer drug that might therapeutically inhibit the STAT3 signaling pathway.

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