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Cancer Biol Ther. 2005 Jul;4(7):709-15. Epub 2005 Jul 28.

AKT activation and response to interferon-beta in human cancer cells.

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Department of Surgery, Division of Surgical Oncology, The University of Pennsylvania Medical Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104, USA.


Significant growth inhibition and induction of apoptosis by IFN-beta in cancer cells including colorectal cancer cells have been observed. We and others have previously reported the Stat 1 induction of TRAIL is a crucial step in the IFN-beta induced apoptosis pathway. However, when evaluating the sensitivity of a panel of colorectal cancer cell lines, we found no clear correlation between activation of the Jak/Stat signaling pathway and response to interferon. In the present study, we have evaluated the interaction of the PI3k/Akt pathway and IFN-beta induced apoptosis in human colorectal cancer cells. The results demonstrate a correlation between Akt activity, phosphorylation of Bad and resistance to interferon-induced apoptosis in these cells. The association of activation of Akt, phosphorylation of Bad and resistance to IFN-beta-induced apoptosis was further supported by the observation that disruption of the pathway in a more resistant cell line led to sensitization, and expression of an activated Akt in a more sensitive cell line led to increased resistance. Taken together, this data indicates that the PI3/Akt kinase pathway may be an important contributor to IFN-beta sensitivity and resistance in colorectal cancer cells. This data demonstrates a potential pathway by which cells may develop resistance to IFN, and further elucidation of this process may allow us to better target IFN therapy.

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