Mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAP kinases) are a family of kinases that regulates a range of biological processes implicated in the response to growth factors like latelet-derived growth factor (PDGF), epidermal growth factor (EGF), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), and stress, such as ultraviolet irradiation, heat shock, and osmotic shock. The MAP kinase family consists of four major subfamilies of related proteins (extracellular regulated kinases 1/2 (ERK1/2), c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK), p38, and extracellular regulated kinase 5 (ERK5)) and regulates numerous cellular activities, such as apoptosis, gene expression, mitosis, differentiation, and immune responses. The deregulation of these kinases is shown to be involved in human diseases, such as cancer, immune diseases, inflammation, and neurodegenerative disorders. The awareness of the therapeutic potential of the inhibition of MAP kinases led to a thorough search for small-molecule inhibitors. Here, we discuss some of the most well-known MAP kinase inhibitors and their use in cancer research.
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