Cellular and Molecular Biology



Akt pathway as a target for therapeutic intervention in HNSCC

Marta Moral and Jesús M. Paramio

Molecular Oncology Unit, Division of Biomedicine, CIEMAT, Madrid, Spain.

Offprint requests to: Jesús M. Paramio, Molecular Oncology Unit, Division of Biomedicine, CIEMAT, Ave. Complutense 22, E-28040 Madrid, Spain. e-mail: jesusm.paramio@ciemat.es

Summary. Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) is the sixth most common form of cancer worldwide. One frequent alteration found in this type of cancer is overactivation of the PI3K/PTEN/mTOR pathway, of which protein kinase B (PKB)/Akt is a central key element, controlling important cellular processes such as metabolism, cell size, proliferation and apoptosis, ultimately regulating cell growth and survival. Thus, drugs that target Akt directly or elements of the pathway are plausible candidates for cancer treatment. Accordingly, numerous clinical trials in various phases are being performed for these drugs. In this review, we discuss the tumorigenic capacity of Akt and focus on its role in HNSCC, paying special attention to the current efforts in treating this cancer in a more specific, Akt-targeted way, based on its primordial role in this type of cancer. Histol Histopathol 23, 1269-1278 (2008)

Key words: Akt, Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma, Keratinocytes

DOI: 10.14670/HH-23.1269