The master mitotic regulator, Polo-like kinase 1 (Plk1), is an essential gene for the correct execution of cell division. Plk1 has strong clinical relevance, as it is considered a bona fide cancer target, it is found overexpressed in a large collection of different cancer types and this tumoral overexpression often correlates with poor patient prognosis. All these data led the scientific community to historically consider Plk1 as an oncogene. Although there is a collection of scientific reports showing how Plk1 can contribute to tumor progression, recent data from different laboratories using mouse models, show that Plk1 can surprisingly play as a tumor suppressor. Therefore, the fact that Plk1 is an oncogene is now under debate. This review summarizes the proposed mechanisms by which Plk1 can play as an oncogene or as a tumor suppressor, and extrapolates this information to clinical features.
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