Rho-kinase as a target for cancer therapy and its immunotherapeutic potential

Seohyun Kim, Seong A. Kim, Jihoon Han, In San Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Cancer immunotherapy is fast rising as a prominent new pillar of cancer treatment, harnessing the immune system to fight against numerous types of cancer. Rho-kinase (ROCK) pathway is involved in diverse cellular activities, and is therefore the target of interest in various diseases at the cellular level including cancer. Indeed, ROCK is well-known for its involvement in the tumor cell and tumor microenvironment, especially in its ability to enhance tumor cell progression, migration, metastasis, and extracellular matrix remodeling. Importantly, ROCK is also considered to be a novel and effective modulator of immune cells, although further studies are needed. In this review article, we describe the various activities of ROCK and its potential to be utilized in cancer treatment, particularly in cancer immunotherapy, by shining a light on its activities in the immune system.

Original languageEnglish
Article number12916
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number23
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Dec 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding: This research was funded by grants from the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Korean government (2017R1A3B1023418), KU-KIST Graduate School of Converging Science and Technology Program, National Cancer Center of Korea, and KIST Institutional Programs.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Cancer immunotherapy
  • ROCK inhibitors
  • Rho-kinase (ROCK)
  • Tumor microenvironment (TME)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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