Huarui Cui, Morgan Stilgenbauer, Angela N. Koehler

Small-Molecule Approaches to Target Transcription Factors

  • Cancer Research
  • Cell Biology
  • Oncology

Dysregulated transcription factor activity is a defining feature of various cancer types. As such, targeting oncogenic transcriptional dependency has long been pursued as a potential therapeutic approach. However, transcription factors have historically been deemed as undruggable targets due to their highly disordered structures and lack of well-defined binding pockets. Nevertheless, interest in their pharmacologic inhibition and destruction has not dwindled in recent years. Here, we discuss new small-molecule-based approaches to target various transcription factors. Ligands with different mechanisms of action, such as inhibitors, molecular glue degraders, and proteolysis targeting chimeras, have recently seen success preclinically and clinically. We review how these strategies overcome the challenges presented by targeting transcription factors. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Cancer Biology, Volume 8 is April 2024. Please see for revised estimates.

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