Genomic complexity and AKT dependence in serous ovarian cancer

Aphrothiti J. Hanrahan, Nikolaus Schultz, Maggie L. Westfal, Rita A. Sakr, Dilip D. Giri, Stefano Scarperi, Manickam Janikariman, Narciso Olvera, Ellen V. Stevens, Qing Bai She, Carol Aghajanian, Tari A. King, Elisa de Stanchina, David R. Spriggs, Adriana Heguy, Barry S. Taylor, Chris Sander, Neal Rosen, Douglas A. Levine, David B. Solit

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

93 Scopus citations


Effective oncoprotein-targeted therapies have not yet been developed for ovarian cancer. To explore the role of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)/AKT signaling in this disease, we performed a genetic and functional analysis of ovarian cancer cell lines and tumors. PI3K pathway alterations were common in both, but the spectrum of mutational changes differed. Genetic activation of the pathway was necessary, but not sufficient, to confer sensitivity to selective inhibition of AKT and cells with RAS pathway alterations or RB1 loss were resistant to AKT inhibition, whether or not they had coexistent PI3K/AKT pathway activation. Inhibition of AKT1 caused growth arrest in a subset of ovarian cell lines, but not in those with AKT3 expression, which required pan-AKT inhibition. Thus, a subset of ovarian tumors is sensitive to AKT inhibition, but the genetic heterogeneity of the disease suggests that effective treatment with AKT pathway inhibitors will require a detailed molecular analysis of each patient's tumor. SIGNIFICANCE: A subset of ovarian cancers exhibits AKT pathway activation and is sensitive to selective AKT inhibition. Ovarian tumors exhibit significant genetic heterogeneity and thus an individualized approach based on real-time, detailed genomic and proteomic characterization of individual tumors will be required for the successful application of PI3K/AKT pathway inhibitors in this disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-67
Number of pages11
JournalCancer Discovery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology


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