The eIF4F complex plays a critical role in the production of certain proteins that promote cell growth, division and survival. eIF4F is a central junction where two of the most frequently activated signaling pathways in cancer, the PI3K-AKT and RAS-MEK pathways, converge. It is a central node that initiates the translation of the proteins that are frequent culprits in key disease-driving processes.
Activation of growth signaling pathways such as receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK) pathways, along with downstream PI3K-AKT and RAS-MEK pathways, converges on eIF4F and initiates over-production of multiple pro-growth proteins. Especially high activation of these growth signaling pathways can cause eIF4F activation that is excessive and continuous, resulting in upregulation of protein synthesis. This upregulation leads to uncontrolled growth of tumor cells, as well as exhaustion of T cells – causing T cells to become less effective cancer fighters.