The nonreceptor protein tyrosine kinase, focal adhesion kinase (FAK, also known as PTK2), is a key mediator of signal transduction downstream of integrins and growth factor receptors in a variety of cells, including endothelial cells. FAK is upregulated in several advanced-stage solid tumors and has been described to promote tumor progression and metastasis through effects on both tumor cells and stromal cells. This observation has led to the development of several FAK inhibitors, some of which have entered clinical trials (GSK2256098, VS-4718, VS-6062, VS-6063, and BI853520). Resistance to chemotherapy is a serious limitation of cancer treatment and, until recently, most studies were restricted to tumor cells, excluding the possible roles performed by the tumor microenvironment. A recent report identified endothelial cell FAK (EC-FAK) as a major regulator of chemosensitivity. By dysregulating endothelial cell–derived paracrine (also known as angiocrine) signals, loss of FAK solely in the endothelial cell compartment is able to induce chemosensitization to DNA-damaging therapies in the malignant cell compartment and thereby reduce tumor growth. Herein, we summarize the roles of EC-FAK in cancer and development and review the status of FAK-targeting anticancer strategies. Clin Cancer Res; 22(15); 3718–24. ©2016 AACR.
- Received February 9, 2016.
- Revision received May 12, 2016.
- Accepted May 13, 2016.
- ©2016 American Association for Cancer Research.