Targeting RAS in pediatric cancer: Is it becoming a reality?

Angelina V. Vaseva, Marielle E. Yohe

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Purpose of reviewThe current review aims to highlight the frequency of RAS mutations in pediatric leukemias and solid tumors and to propose strategies for targeting oncogenic RAS in pediatric cancers.Recent findingsThe three RAS genes (HRAS, NRAS, and KRAS) comprise the most frequently mutated oncogene family in human cancer. RAS mutations are commonly observed in three of the leading causes of cancer death in the United States, namely lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, and colorectal cancer. The association of RAS mutations with these aggressive malignancies inspired the creation of the National Cancer Institute RAS initiative and spurred intense efforts to develop strategies to inhibit oncogenic RAS, with much recent success. RAS mutations are frequently observed in pediatric cancers; however, recent advances in anti-RAS drug development have yet to translate into pediatric clinical trials.SummaryWe find that RAS is mutated in common and rare pediatric malignancies and that oncogenic RAS confers a functional dependency in these cancers. Many strategies for targeting RAS are being pursued for malignancies that primarily affect adults and there is a clear need for inclusion of pediatric patients in clinical trials of these agents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)48-56
Number of pages9
JournalCurrent Opinion in Pediatrics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2020


  • RAS
  • leukemia
  • mitogen-activated protein kinase
  • neuroblastoma
  • rhabdomyosarcoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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