Casein kinase 2 (CK2) is an oncogenic protein kinase which contributes to tumor development, proliferation, and suppression of apoptosis in multiple cancer types. The mechanism by which CK2 expression and activity leads to tumorigenesis in glioblastoma (GBM), a stage IV primary brain tumor, is being studied. Recent studies demonstrate that CK2 plays an important role in GBM formation and growth through the inhibition of tumor suppressors and activation of oncogenes. In addition, intriguing new reports indicate that CK2 may regulate GBM formation in a novel manner; CK2 may play a critical role in cancer stem cell (CSC) maintenance. Since glial CSCs have the ability to self-renew and initiate tumor growth, new treatments which target these CSCs are needed to treat this fatal disease. Inhibition of CK2 is potentially a novel method to inhibit GBM growth and reoccurrence by targeting the glial CSCs. A new, orally available, selective CK2 inhibitor, CX-4945 has had promising results when tested in cancer cell lines, in vivo xenograft models, and human clinical trials. The development of CK2 targeted inhibitors, starting with CX-4945, may lead to a new class of more effective cancer therapies.
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