New Journal of Science
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 757534, 27 pages
Review Article

Mammalian MYC Proteins and Cancer

Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, 465 21st Avenue South, Nashville, TN 37232, USA

Received 29 August 2013; Accepted 1 November 2013; Published 2 February 2014

Academic Editor: Ygal Haupt

Copyright © 2014 William P. Tansey. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The MYC family of proteins is a group of basic-helix-loop-helix-leucine zipper transcription factors that feature prominently in cancer. Overexpression of MYC is observed in the vast majority of human malignancies and promotes an extraordinary set of changes that impact cell proliferation, growth, metabolism, DNA replication, cell cycle progression, cell adhesion, differentiation, and metastasis. The purpose of this review is to introduce the reader to the mammalian family of MYC proteins, highlight important functional properties that endow them with their potent oncogenic potential, describe their mechanisms of action and of deregulation in cancer cells, and discuss efforts to target the unique properties of MYC, and of MYC-driven tumors, to treat cancer.