[Farnesyl transferase inhibitors: one target may be found in another].
ABSTRACT The fact that proteins such as Ras require farnesylation to induce malignant transformation prompted many investigators to design farnesyl transferase inhibitors (FTI) as novel anticancer drugs. FTIs inhibit the growth of ras transformed cells in vitro and induce tumor regression in ras dependent tumor in vivo. Moreover, FTIs inhibit tumor progression in human tumor xenograft models. Currently, FTIs are undergoing phase I and II trials in various cancer types. They show impressive antitumour efficacy and they lack toxicity. Despite these promising results, the development of such molecules in hindered by the absence of appropriate clinical endpoints and of surrogate biological markers. Indeed, it seems likely that Ras is not the critical target of FTIs and that inhibition of the farnesylation of proteins such as RhoB, might also contribute to the observed antitumour properties. Identification of targets that underlie their biological effect is essential in order to predict and evaluate their efficacy.