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Prostate. 2008 Jun 15;68(9):965-74. doi: 10.1002/pros.20757.

Akt down-modulation induces apoptosis of human prostate cancer cells and synergizes with EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors.

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  • 1Departments of Experimental Medicine, University of L'Aquila, L'Aquila, Italy. festucci@univaq.it



PTEN is a well-characterized tumor suppressor that negatively regulates cell growth and survival through the modulation of PI3K/Akt pathway.


In this paper, we investigated the effects of an PI3K/Akt inhibitor, perifosine, in human prostate cancer (PCa) cells analyzing cell proliferation, apoptosis, and the synergy with EGFR inhibitors.


Clinically achievable concentrations of perifosine, as well as Akt gene knockdown, induced a G0/G1 arrest and apoptosis in PTEN defective PCa cells. Although PTEN introduction was able to restore the control of Akt activity and to reduce cell proliferation, the manipulation of PTEN gene was not able alone to influence apoptosis. Perifosine induced apoptotic program also in PTEN positive cells when Akt activity was augmented by EGF suggesting the possibility that this drug could be used in combination with EGFR inhibitors. The combination treatment between erlotinib and pharmacological or molecular Akt knockdown, indeed, showed synergistic effects. This is the first demonstration that a pharmacological compound against Akt activity can restore the efficacy against EGFR inhibitors in PCa and has important therapeutic fallout since EGFR inhibitors have demonstrated very low effectiveness in PCa patients.


Taken together our data have an important clinical relevance in the treatment of advanced prostate tumors. However, further studies in the setting of combination therapies in advanced PCas are necessary.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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