Potential of the Synthetic Lethality Principle

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  15 Nov 2013:
Vol. 342, Issue 6160, pp. 809-811
DOI: 10.1126/science.1244669

You are currently viewing the summary.

View Full Text

Log in to view the full text

Log in through your institution

Log in through your institution


Most cancer mutations, including those causing a loss of function, are not directly “druggable” with conventional small-molecule drugs or biologicals, such as antibodies. Thus, despite our growing knowledge of mutations that drive cancer progression, there remains a frustrating gap in translating this information into the development of targeted treatments that kill only cancer cells. An approach that exploits a concept from genetics called “synthetic lethality” could provide a solution. But it has been over 15 years since that framework was proposed (1). Does the synthetic lethality principle still have the potential for treating cancer?