The protein kinase C (PKC) family proteins are important signal transducers and have long been the focus of cancer research. PKCε, a member of this family, is overexpressed in most solid tumors and plays critical roles in different processes that lead to cancer development. Studies using cell lines and animal models demonstrated the transforming potential of PKCε. While earlier research established the survival functions of PKCε, recent studies revealed its role in cell migration, invasion and cancer metastasis. PKCε has also been implicated in epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT), which may be the underlying mechanism by which it contributes to cell motility. In addition, PKCε affects cell-extracellular matrix (ECM) interactions by direct regulation of the cytoskeletal elements. Recent studies have also linked PKCε signaling to cancer stem cell functioning. This review focuses on the role of PKCε in different processes that lead to cancer development and progression. We also discussed current literatures on the pursuit of PKCε as a target for cancer therapy.
- Cancer stem cells