Oncogenic Partnerships: EWS-FLI1 Protein Interactions Initiate Key Pathways of Ewing's Sarcoma

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Targeted therapy for cancer, which is specifically directed toward the cancer without any potential for effects outside of controlling the tumor, is a gold standard for treatment. Ewing's sarcoma contains the potential target EWS-FLI1, as a result of a pathognomonic chromosomal translocation. The EWS-FLI1 fusion protein includes the EWS domain, a potent transcriptional activator alongside the highly conserved FLI1 ets DNA-binding domain. Because of the combination of these domains, the EWS-FLI1 fusion protein acts as an aberrant transcription factor whose expression results in cellular transformation. EWS-FLI1 functions by binding to normal cellular protein partners in transcription and splicing, similar to how a virus would corrupt normal cellular machinery for virion production. Therefore, understanding the protein-protein interactions of EWS-FLI1 and the pathways that are regulated by these partnerships will inform both oncogenesis and therapeutics. This review describes the known protein partners and transcriptional targets of EWS-FLI1, while proposing strategies for exploiting these partnerships with targeted therapy. Clin Cancer Res; 16(16); 4077–83. ©2010 AACR.

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Clinical Cancer Research, v. 16, issue 16, p. 4077-4083