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Mol Cancer Ther. 2003 Nov;2(11):1093-103.

Perifosine, a novel alkylphospholipid, inhibits protein kinase B activation.

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Clinical Trials Unit, Developmental Therapeutics Program, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD, USA.


Perifosine is a novel p.o. bioavailable alkylphospholipid. Perifosine has displayed significant antiproliferative activity in vitro and in vivo in several human tumor model systems and has recently entered phase I clinical trials. Recent studies have identified that perifosine could cause cell cycle arrest with induction of p21(WAF1/CIP1) in a p53-independent fashion; however, the basis for that effect is not known. Structurally, perifosine resembles naturally occurring phospholipids. Therefore, we hypothesized that perifosine might perturb pathways related to phospholipids modulated by growth factor action. We demonstrate here that perifosine causes dose-dependent inhibition of protein kinase B/Akt phosphorylation and thus activation at concentrations causing growth inhibition of PC-3 prostate carcinoma cells. Only the myristoylated form of Akt (MYR-Akt), which bypasses the requirement for pleckstrin homology (PH) domain-mediated membrane recruitment, abrogated perifosine-mediated decrease of Akt phosphorylation and cell growth inhibition by perifosine. We demonstrate further that perifosine decreases the plasma membrane localization of Akt, and this is substantially relieved by MYR-Akt along with relief of downstream drug effect on induction of p21(WAF1/CIP1). Perifosine does not directly affect phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K), phosphoinositide-dependent kinase 1, or Akt activity at concentrations inhibiting Akt phosphorylation and membrane localization. Our results demonstrate that Akt is an important cellular target of perifosine action. In addition, these studies show that the membrane translocation of certain PH domain-containing molecules can be greatly perturbed by the alkylphospholipid class of drugs and imply further that the PI3K/Akt pathway contributes to regulation of p21(WAF1/CIP1) expression.

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