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J Biol Chem. 2007 Jul 20;282(29):21206-12. Epub 2007 May 18.

Inhibition of phosphatidylinositol-3-OH kinase/Akt signaling impairs DNA repair in glioblastoma cells following ionizing radiation.

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Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104, USA.


Radiation therapy is a mainstay in the treatment of glioblastomas, but these tumors are often associated with radioresistance. Activation of the phosphatidylinositol-3-OH kinase (PI3K)/Akt pathway, which occurs frequently in glioblastomas due to inactivation of the tumor suppressor phosphatase and tensin homologue (PTEN), correlates with radioresistance. To directly test the link between Akt activation and radioresistance, we utilized PTEN-deficient U251 glioblastoma cells engineered to inducibly restore PTEN upon exposure to doxycycline. These cells showed high basal levels of Akt activation (i.e. high levels of phospho-Akt), but induction of PTEN led to substantially decreased phospho-Akt and was associated with radiosensitization. To investigate whether the PTEN-induced radiosensitization was attributable to impaired sensing versus repair of DNA damage, we assessed levels of gamma-H2AX after ionizing radiation in U251 cells induced for PTEN. Initial post-radiation levels of gamma-H2AX foci were not decreased in PTEN-induced cells; however, the resolution of these foci was significantly delayed. In contrast to these results, induction of phosphatase-dead PTEN showed no appreciable effect. Finally, exposure of cells to the PI3K inhibitor LY294002 did not decrease the occurrence of gamma-H2AX foci after irradiation but did markedly delay their resolution. These results together support a direct link between Akt activation, repair of DNA damage, and radioresistance in glioblastoma. Targeting the PI3K/Akt pathway may modulate DNA repair to improve the efficacy of radiation therapy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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