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Tumour Biol. 2012 Feb;33(1):241-5. doi: 10.1007/s13277-011-0272-4. Epub 2011 Nov 25.

Activation of AKT is associated with metastasis of nasopharyngeal carcinoma.

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Department of Radiotherapy, Nanfang Hospital, Southern Medical University, Guangzhou, Guangdong 510515, People's Republic of China.


Although radiotherapy results of nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) at an early stage are better than other tumors, there is still a portion of patients with NPC who die before 5 years after the treatment; the underlying mechanism remains to be further understood. This study aims to investigate the mechanism by which NPC cells escape from irradiation. Patients with NPC at stage I was included in this study. All the patients were treated with irradiation. NPC biopsies were obtained from each patient before and 1 week after the start of radiotherapy. Expression of AKT in NPC tissue was assessed by Western blotting. NPC cell line, SUNE-1 cells, was treated with irradiation. The levels of AKT in SUNE-1 cells were also assessed. The frequency of apoptotic SUNE-1 cells was evaluated by flow cytometry. The levels of AKT were markedly increased in NPC tissue after treatment with irradiation, which was significantly correlated with NPC metastasis and mortality. After irradiation, NPC cell line, SUNE-1 cells, expressed higher levels of AKT than control cells. The knockdown of AKT in SUNE-1 cells markedly increased apoptotic cell rate. Radiotherapy can increase the levels of AKT in NPC cells that are associated with NPC metastasis and increase in mortality.

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