Targeting the undruggable: exploiting neomorphic features of fusion oncoproteins in childhood sarcomas for innovative therapies

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Abstract

While sarcomas account for approximately 1% of malignant tumors of adults, they are particularly more common in children and adolescents affected by cancer. In contrast to malignancies that occur in later stages of life, childhood tumors, including sarcoma, are characterized by a striking paucity of somatic mutations. However, entity-defining fusion oncogenes acting as the main oncogenic driver mutations are frequently found in pediatric bone and soft-tissue sarcomas such as Ewing sarcoma (EWSR1-FLI1), alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma (PAX3/7-FOXO1), and synovial sarcoma (SS18-SSX1/2/4). Since strong oncogene-dependency has been demonstrated in these entities, direct pharmacological targeting of these fusion oncogenes has been excessively attempted, thus far, with limited success. Despite apparent challenges, our increasing understanding of the neomorphic features of these fusion oncogenes in conjunction with rapid technological advances will likely enable the development of new strategies to therapeutically exploit these neomorphic features and to ultimately turn the “undruggable” into first-line target structures. In this review, we provide a broad overview of the current literature on targeting neomorphic features of fusion oncogenes found in Ewing sarcoma, alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma, and synovial sarcoma, and give a perspective for future developments. [Figure not available: see fulltext.]

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Knott, M. M. L., Hölting, T. L. B., Ohmura, S., Kirchner, T., Cidre-Aranaz, F., & Grünewald, T. G. P. (2019, December 1). Targeting the undruggable: exploiting neomorphic features of fusion oncoproteins in childhood sarcomas for innovative therapies. Cancer and Metastasis Reviews. Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10555-019-09839-9

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