The PIM kinases in hematological cancers

Yesid Alvarado, Francis J. Giles, Ronan T. Swords

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


The PIM genes represent a family of proto-oncogenes that encode three different serine/threonine protein kinases (PIM1, PIM2 and PIM3) with essential roles in the regulation of signal transduction cascades, which promote cell survival, proliferation and drug resistance. PIM kinases are overexpressed in several hematopoietic tumors and support in vitro and in vivo malignant cell growth and survival, through cell cycle regulation and inhibition of apoptosis. PIM kinases do not have an identified regulatory domain, which means that these proteins are constitutively active once transcribed. They appear to be critical downstream effectors of important oncoproteins and, when overexpressed, can mediate drug resistance to available agents, such as rapamycin. Recent crystallography studies reveal that, unlike other kinases, they possess a hinge region, which creates a unique binding pocket for ATP, offering a target for an increasing number of potent small-molecule PIM kinase inhibitors. Preclinical studies in models of various hematologic cancers indicate that these novel agents show promising activity and some of them are currently being evaluated in a clinical setting. In this review, we profile the PIM kinases as targets for therapeutics in hematologic malignancies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)81-96
Number of pages16
JournalExpert Review of Hematology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • AKT
  • PI3K
  • PIM kinase
  • PIM kinase inhibitor
  • apoptosis
  • cell signaling
  • drug development
  • kinase
  • mTOR

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology


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