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Urol Int. 2008;80(4):372-7. doi: 10.1159/000132694. Epub 2008 Jun 27.

Activation of PI3K is associated with reduced survival in renal cell carcinoma.

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Department of Urology, Eberhard Karls University Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany.



The epidermal growth factor receptor- (EGFR) activated phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)/protein kinase B (PKB/Akt) pathway is associated with tumorigenesis and progression. The aims of the present study were to determine the expression patterns of Akt pathway parameters PI3K, phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN), phosphor-Akt (p-Akt) and their combination, for their possible prognostic value in renal cell carcinoma (RCC). PTEN dephosphorylates the liquid product of PI3K.


Tumor samples from 176 RCC patients were investigated for PTEN, p-Akt and PI3K expression by immunohistochemistry. Expression levels were correlated to clinical variables and postoperative outcome by uni- and multivariate statistical analysis.


The various expression levels within the tumor samples were independent of histological grade and tumor stage, due to different levels of activation of the PI3K/p-Akt pathway. The activation of PI3K protein was found to be significantly associated with reduced survival times (p = 0.0304, multivariate analysis). Analysis of combined biomarker expressions showed that decreased long-term survival was correlated with PTEN low/p-Akt high expression (p < 0.05).


Activation of the PI3K pathway is significantly associated with adverse clinical outcome in RCC. Analysis of biomarker combinations might identify high-risk patients and a subsequent need to adapt treatment modalities. Molecular pathways regulating PI3K activation appear to be promising targets for drug development in the clinical management of RCC patients.

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