Protein kinase CK2 inhibition has long been considered as an attractive anti-cancer strategy based on the following considerations: CK2 is a pro-survival kinase, it is frequently over-expressed in human tumours and its over-expression correlates with a worse prognosis. Preclinical evidence strongly supports the feasibility of this target and, although dozens of CK2 inhibitors have been described in the literature so far, CX-4945 (silmitasertib) was the first that entered into clinical trials for the treatment of both human haematological and solid tumours. However, kinase inhibitor monotherapies turned out to be effective only in a limited number of malignancies, probably due to the multifaceted causes that underlie them, supporting the emerging view that multi-targeted approaches to treat human tumours could be more effective.
In this review, we will address combined anti-cancer therapeutic strategies described so far which involve the use of CX-4945. Data from preclinical studies clearly show the ability of CX-4945 to synergistically cooperate with different classes of anti-neoplastic agents, thereby contributing to an orchestrated anti-tumour action against multiple targets. Overall, these promising outcomes support the translation of CX-4945 combined therapies into clinical anti-cancer applications.