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Clin Cancer Res. 2008 Dec 1;14(23):7751-62. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-08-0213.

Akt-dependent proapoptotic effects of dietary restriction on late-stage management of a phosphatase and tensin homologue/tuberous sclerosis complex 2-deficient mouse astrocytoma.

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  • 1Biology Department, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts 02467, USA.



Malignant astrocytomas exhibit constitutive Akt phosphorylation due to reduced phosphatase and tensin homologue (PTEN) tumor suppressor expression or to increased growth factor receptor tyrosine kinase activation. Many astrocytomas are also tuberous sclerosis complex 2 (TSC2) protein deficient and exhibit constitutive mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) activity. Astrocytomas harboring PTEN/Akt/TSC2 pathway mutations are dependent on glycolysis to satisfy their bioenergetic requirements. Therapies that disrupt energy homeostasis can potentially manage astrocytoma growth and progression. Although dietary restriction (DR) reduces glycolysis and manages early-stage astrocytoma growth, no prior studies have identified the mechanisms involved or determined if DR can also manage late-stage tumor growth.


The effects of a late-onset intermittent DR feeding paradigm were examined in adult C57BL/6J mice bearing the syngeneic CT-2A malignant astrocytoma grown orthotopically or subcutaneously.


In contrast to contralateral normal brain, CT-2A was PTEN/TSC2 protein deficient; exhibited constitutive Akt, mTOR, and BAD phosphorylation; and overexpressed insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I), IGF-I receptor, hypoxia-inducible transcription factor-1alpha (HIF-1alpha), type 1 glucose transporter protein (GLUT1), and pyruvate kinase. DR initiated 10 to 14 days after tumor implantation (late onset) reduced CT-2A growth, delayed malignant progression, and significantly extended survival. DR suppressed phosphorylation of Akt and BAD while reducing expression of IGF-I, HIF-1alpha, and GLUT1. DR also enhanced procaspase-9/procaspase-3 cleavage but had no effect mTOR phosphorylation.


Our findings indicate that IGF-I/Akt signaling is associated with the antiapoptotic and glycolytic phenotype of the CT-2A astrocytoma and that DR targets this pathway. Moreover, PTEN/TSC2 deficiency may impair adaptation to the DR-induced disruption of energy homeostasis, thus enhancing apoptosis. Our findings highlight the efficacy of late-onset DR in managing astrocytoma growth and suggest that DR may be an effective broad-spectrum inhibitor of Akt signaling in PTEN/TSC2-deficient astrocytomas.

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