The Rho-Regulated ROCK Kinases in Cancer

  • Grant R Wickman
  • Michael S. Samuel
  • Pamela A Lochhead
  • Michael F Olson


The Rho-associated protein kinases ROCK I and ROCK II are central effectors for the RhoA, B, and C small molecular weight GTP-binding proteins, and promote actin-filament stabilization as well as actin-myosin contractility. The effects of ROCK on actin filaments initiate changes in cytoskeletal structure and organization that are critical for many physiological and pathological processes. ROCK has been functionally associated with cell cycle control and proliferation, survival and apoptosis, as well as cell motility and migration. Interestingly, regulation of each of these biological process may be significantly altered in tumor cells, resulting in the promotion of cancer progression. Extensive clinical and preclinical investigations provide evidence supportive of a role for ROCK in multiple aspects of cancer, and pharmacological ROCK inhibitors have been developed as potential anticancer chemotherapeutic agents. This chapter reviews the structure and function of ROCK I and ROCK II, with a particular focus on their potential roles in cancer.


Actin Cytoskeleton Focal Adhesion Stress Fiber Rock Inhibitor Stress Fiber Formation 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Grant R Wickman
    • 1
  • Michael S. Samuel
    • 1
  • Pamela A Lochhead
    • 1
  • Michael F Olson
    • 1
  1. 1.Molecular and Cellular BiologyThe Beatson Institute for Cancer ResearchGlasgowUnited Kingdom

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