Published online Nov 7, 2015. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v21.i41.11673
Peer-review started: April 30, 2015
First decision: June 2, 2015
Revised: July 11, 2015
Accepted: September 15, 2015
Article in press: September 15, 2015
Published online: November 7, 2015
The mortality rate of gastric cancer worldwide is as high as 70%, despite the development of novel therapeutic strategies. One reason for the high mortality is the rapid and uninhibited spread of the disease, such that the majority of patients are diagnosed at a stage when efficient therapeutic treatment is not available. Therefore, in-depth research is needed to investigate the mechanism of gastric cancer metastasis and invasion to improve outcomes and provide biomarkers for early diagnosis. The mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling pathway is widely expressed in multicellular organisms, with critical roles in multiple biological processes, such as cell proliferation, death, differentiation, migration, and invasion. The MAPK pathway typically responds to extracellular stimulation. However, the MAPK pathway is often involved in the occurrence and progression of cancer when abnormally regulated. Many studies have researched the relationship between the MAPK signaling pathway and cancer metastasis and invasion, but little is known about the important roles that the MAPK signaling pathway plays in gastric cancer. Based on an analysis of published data, this review aims to summarize the important role that the MAP kinases play in the invasion and metastasis of gastric cancer and attempts to provide potential directions for further research and clinical treatment.
Core tip: The mortality rate of gastric cancer is as high as 70% worldwide due to the rapid and uninhibited metastasis and invasiveness of the disease. Although the relationship between the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling pathway and cancer metastasis and invasion has been widely researched, few studies have focused on gastric cancer. Here we review the function of the three central kinases of the MAPK signaling pathway, ERK, JNK and p38, in the metastasis and invasion of gastric cancer, and we attempt to provide support for further in-depth study and clinical application.