Signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (Stat3) is a transcription factor that is constitutively activated in a variety of human malignancies, including prostate, lung, brain, breast, and squamous cell carcinomas. Inhibition of activated Stat3 leads to decreased proliferation and apoptosis of many cancer-derived cell lines, while the introduction of a constitutively activated form of Stat3 into immortalized human breast epithelial cells and rodent fibroblasts results in cellular transformation. Collectively, these data suggest a role for Stat3 in oncogenesis. A new study from Chan et al. (see related article beginning on page 720) is the first to demonstrate a requirement for Stat3 in de novo epithelial carcinogenesis in vivo. Using the two-step model of chemically induced skin carcinogenesis, the authors demonstrated that mice deficient in Stat3 were completely resistant to skin tumor development.
Laura Pedranzini, Andrea Leitch, Jacqueline Bromberg