The phosphatidyl inositol 3-kinase signaling network: implications for human breast cancer

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The phosphatidyl inositol 3-kinase (PI3K)/Akt pathway is activated downstream of a variety of extracellular signals and activation of this signaling pathway impacts a number of cellular processes including cell growth, proliferation and survival. The alteration of components of this pathway, through either activation of oncogenes or inactivation of tumor suppressors, disrupts a signaling equilibrium and can thus lead to cellular transformation. The frequent dysregulation of the PI3K/Akt pathway in human cancer has made components of this pathway attractive for therapeutic targeting; however, a more comprehensive understanding of the signaling intricacies is necessary to develop pharmacological agents to target not only specific molecules, but also specific functions. Here, we review a series of experiments examining the contribution of molecules of this signaling network including PI3K, phosphatase and tensin homolog deleted on chromosome 10, integrin-linked kinase and Akt and address the significance to human breast cancer.

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