In Search of Novel CDK8 Inhibitors by Virtual Screening

Aberrant activity of cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) 8 is implicated in various cancers. While CDK8-targeting anticancer drugs are highly sought-after, no CDK8 inhibitor has yet reached clinical trials. Herein a large library of drug-like molecules was computationally screened using two complementary cascades to identify potential CDK8 inhibitors. Thirty-three hits were identified to inhibit CDK8 and seven of them were active against colorectal cancer cell lines. Finally, the primary target was confirmed using three promising hits.