Heat shock protein 70s as potential molecular targets for colon cancer therapeutics

Jennifer D. Black, Khosrow Rezvani

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Background: Targeted drugs modulate selective pathways activated or repressed only in cancer cells, resulting in a higher response to chemotherapy with less severe side effects. The use of a selected member of the heat shock protein 70 family (HSP70) as an effective therapeutic target in the treatment of colorectal cancer (CRC) will be the focus of this review. Methods: We generated two main questions for this study: 1) What are the current and potential future molecular therapies in CRC? 2) Can selective members of the HSP70 family advance drug design and drug discovery for treatment of CRC patients? We discuss related articles based on their significance and translational contributions to the existing literature. Results: The first part of this review discusses molecularly targeted agents that are currently used successfully in the clinic for the treatment of patients with CRC and highlights several novel targeted agents that are being investigated in ongoing trials. The second part of this review focuses on the unique tumorigenic functions of heat shock proteins, particularly mortalin-2, an essential heat shock protein for mitochondrial biogenesis in normal cells and a dominant oncoprotein in colon cancer cells. Basic and clinical studies have justified mortalin-2 as a potential molecular target, and its inhibition could dramatically improve patients’ responses to standard chemotherapies. Conclusion: Further understanding of the contributions of HSP70 family members to CRC at the molecular level, combined with translation of new concepts into effective targeted therapies, are anticipated to improve clinical outcomes and increase the therapeutic synergy with combination treatment with cytotoxic agents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3171-3188
Number of pages18
JournalCurrent medicinal chemistry
Issue number28
StatePublished - 2016


  • Apoptosis
  • Chemotherapy
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Heat shock protein
  • Mortalin-2
  • Targeted therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery
  • Organic Chemistry


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