Indexed on: 06 Apr '06Published on: 06 Apr '06Published in: Cancer Letters
The protein kinase AKT is involved in several signaling pathways that are important for tumor development and progression, suggesting that AKT might be an interesting target for a molecular tumor therapy. In this study, we investigated the AKT expression in ovarian carcinomas and the role of the AKT isoforms to ovarian cancer cell proliferation. We observed an increased AKT expression in 58% of the primary ovarian carcinomas as compared to normal ovaries by immunohistochemistry. AKT expression was significantly associated with positive lymph node status (P=0.002) and advanced FIGO stage (P=0.009). In western blot analysis, total AKT was expressed in all ovarian cancer cell lines and HOSE cells, while phosphorylated AKT was only observed in OVCAR-3 and SKOV-3 cells. The isoforms AKT1 and AKT2 were expressed at the mRNA level in all cell lines, while no relevant AKT3 mRNA levels were detected by conventional and quantitative RT-PCR. To determine the effects on cell proliferation, we used the unselective PI3K-inhibitor LY294002 as well as RNA interference to selectively inhibit the AKT isoforms. Treatment with LY294002 and the AKT2 siRNA reduced proliferation of OVCAR-3 cells. Our results show that AKT is expressed in a subpopulation of advanced ovarian carcinomas suggesting a role for this protein in the progression of this entity. Deactivation of AKT, especially AKT2 can result in reduction of cell growth. Accordingly, AKT is an interesting target for therapeutic intervention in ovarian cancer.