Medicinal Chemistry

ISSN: 2161-0444

Open Access

Inhibition of the DNA-Dependent Protein Kinase for Cancer Therapy


Suzannah J Harnor, Alfie Brennan and Céline Cano


The catalytic activity of DNA-dependent protein kinase (DNA-PK) is central to its ability to repair lethal DNAdouble strand breaks (DSBs). This includes repair of DSB lesions following therapeutic treatment of cancer cells or resulting from oxidative stress or oncogene-induced transcription. As a tactic to induce tumour chemo- and radio-sensitisation, numerous attempts have been made to identify small molecule inhibitors of DNA-PK activity. This review examines the structures of known reversible and irreversible inhibitors, including those based upon chromen-4-one, arylmorpholine, and benzaldehyde scaffolds. VX-984 and M3814 are recent examples of DNA-PK catalytic inhibitors that have progressed into clinical development, the results from which should help to further advance our understanding of whether this approach represents a promising therapeutic strategy for the treatment of cancer.


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