Turning up the Heat on MYC: Progress in Small-Molecule Inhibitors

Mihai I. Truica, Michael C. Burns, Huiying Han, Sarki A. Abdulkadir*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


MYC is a highly validated oncogenic transcription factor and cancer target. However, the disordered nature of this protein has made it a challenging target, with no clinical stage, direct small-molecule MYC inhibitors available. Recent work leveraging a large in silico chemical library and a rapid in vivo screen has expanded the chemotypes of direct small-molecule inhibitors (MYCi). Novel MYCi represent a class of improved MYC chemical probes that bind directly to MYC to inhibit its function and to promote its degradation by enhancing GSK3b–mediated phosphorylation. One of these compounds, MYCi975, has shown remarkable tolerability and efficacy in vivo and is associated with a selective effect on MYC target gene expression. Additional effects of MYCi on the tumor immune microenvironment including immune cell infiltration and upregulation of PD-L1 expression provide a rationale for combining MYCi with anti–PD-1/PD-L1 therapy to enhance antitumor efficacy. Our strategy for developing MYCi demonstrates an efficient way to identify selective and well-tolerated MYC inhibitors. The new MYCi provide tools for probing MYC function and serve as starting points for the development of novel anti-MYC therapeutics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalCancer Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 15 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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