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Front Endocrinol (Lausanne). 2016 Jan 11;6:188. doi: 10.3389/fendo.2015.00188. eCollection 2015.

The PI3K/Akt Pathway in Tumors of Endocrine Tissues.

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Department of General Surgery, University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire , Coventry , UK.
School of Oral and Dental Sciences, School of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, University of Bristol , Bristol , UK.


The phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)/Akt pathway is a key driver in carcinogenesis. Defects in this pathway in human cancer syndromes such as Cowden's disease and Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia result in tumors of endocrine tissues, highlighting its importance in these cancer types. This review explores the growing evidence from multiple animal and in vitro models and from analysis of human tumors for the involvement of this pathway in the following: thyroid carcinoma subtypes, parathyroid carcinoma, pituitary tumors, adrenocortical carcinoma, phaeochromocytoma, neuroblastoma, and gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumors. While data are not always consistent, immunohistochemistry performed on human tumor tissue has been used alongside other techniques to demonstrate Akt overactivation. We review active Akt as a potential prognostic marker and the PI3K pathway as a therapeutic target in endocrine neoplasia.


Akt/PKB kinases; adrenocortical carcinoma; gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumors; neuroblastoma; parathyroid tumors; phaeochromocytoma; pituitary tumors; thyroid tumors

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