CDK9 is a protein in constant development in cancer therapy. Herein we present an overview of the enzyme as a target for cancer therapy. We provide data on its characteristics and mechanism of action. In recent years, CDK9 inhibitors that have been designed with molecular modeling have demonstrated good antitumoral activity in vitro. Clinical studies of the drugs flavopiridol, dinaciclib, seliciclib, SNS-032 and RGB-286638 used as CDK9 inhibitors are also reviewed, with their additional targets and their relative IC50 values. Unfortunately, treatment with these drugs remains unsuccessful and involves many adverse effects. We could conclude that there are many small molecules that bind to CDK9, but their lack of selectivity against other CDKs do not allow them to get to the clinical use. However, drug designers currently have the tools needed to improve the selectivity of CDK9 inhibitors and to make successful treatment available to patients.
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