Author(s): Bussink J, van der Kogel AJ, Kaanders JH
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Abstract Activation of the phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase (PI3-K)/protein kinase B (AKT) pathway is associated with three major radioresistance mechanisms: intrinsic radioresistance; tumour-cell proliferation; and hypoxia. Monitoring and manipulation of this signal-transduction pathway can have important implications for the management of head and neck cancer, because activation of the PI3-K/AKT pathway is a frequent event in these tumours. PI3-K/AKT signalling regulates cellular processes, including proliferation, invasion, apoptosis, and the upregulation of hypoxia-related proteins. Activation of this pathway can be caused by stimulation of receptor tyrosine kinases, such as epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). In clinical trials, a strong and independent association has been noted between expression of activated AKT and treatment outcome. Therefore, the search for molecular predictors of sensitivity to EGFR-directed treatment should be extended to markers of PI3-K/AKT activation. Another strategy might be the direct targeting and inhibition of this pathway. Such inhibition will enhance the efficacy of radiotherapy, by antagonising radiation-induced cellular defense mechanisms, especially in tumours that have activated the PI3-K/AKT cascade. Thus, the activation status of this pathway might be a key element for the prediction of treatment response and for therapeutic targeting in head and neck cancer.
This article was published in Lancet Oncol
and referenced in Journal of Cancer Science & Therapy