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Cancer Sci. 2008 Sep;99(9):1734-40. doi: 10.1111/j.1349-7006.2008.00891.x. Epub 2008 Jul 4.

Phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase inhibitors: promising drug candidates for cancer therapy.

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Division of Molecular Pharmacology, Cancer Chemotherapy Center, Japanese Foundation for Cancer Research, 3-10-6 Ariake, Koto-ku, Tokyo 135-8550, Japan.


Phosphatidylinositol 3-kinases (PI3K) are a group of lipid kinases that phosphorylate phosphoinositides at the 3-hydroxyl group of the inositol ring to generate phosphatidylinositol 3,4,5-trisphosphate, a second messenger with key roles in fundamental cellular responses such as cell proliferation and metabolism. Frequent mutations found in or amplification of the PIK3CA gene and loss of phosphatase and tensin homolog deleted on chromosome 10 function in human tumors suggest that PI3K is a potential target for cancer therapy. During the last 5 years, several specific PI3K inhibitors were developed that were directed against various diseases. Some of them revealed potent anticancer efficacy and are now undergoing clinical trials. Some PI3K inhibitors showed antiangiogenic effects. Combined use of PI3K inhibitors with other chemotherapeutic agents or with radiotherapy produced synergistic therapeutic efficacies in treating cancer and showed reduced side effects. The rapid progress made in developing novel PI3K inhibitors in recent years promises bright prospects for finding a PI3K-targeted anticancer drug in the near future.

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