Multiple roles and therapeutic implications of Akt signaling in cancer
Emiliano Calvo1, Victoria Bolós2, Enrique Grande2
1Centro Integral Oncológico Clara Campal (CiOCC), Madrid. Spain; 2Pfizer Oncology, Alcobendas-Madrid, Spain
Abstract: The prominence of the PI3K-Akt signaling pathway in several tumors indicates a relationship with tumor grade and proliferation. Critical cellular processes are driven through this pathway. More detailed knowledge of the pathogenesis of tumors would enable us to design targeted drugs to block both membrane tyrosine kinase receptors and the intracellular kinases involved in the transmission of the signal. The newly approved molecular inhibitors sunitinib (an inhibitor of vascular endothelial growth factor receptor, platelet-derived growth factor receptor, and other tyrosine kinase receptors), sorafenib (a serine–threonine kinase inhibitor that acts against B-Raf) and temsirolimus (an mTOR inhibitor) shown clinical activity in advanced kidney cancer. Chronic myeloid leukemia has changed its natural history thanks to imatinib and dasatinib, both of which inhibit the intracellular bcr/abl protein derived from the alteration in the Philadelphia chromosome. Intracellular pathways are still important in cancer development and their blockade directly affects outcome. Cross-talk has been observed but is not well understood. Vertical and horizontal pathway blockade are promising anticancer strategies. Indeed, preclinical and early clinical data suggest that combining superficial and intracellular blocking agents can synergize and leverage single-agent activity. The implication of the Akt signaling pathway in cancer is well established and has led to the development of new anticancer agents that block its activation.
Keywords: Akt, cancer, therapeutic target, Akt inhibitors