Albert Einstein Cancer Center

Oncogenic Kras requires simultaneous PI3K signaling

Thyroid tumors arising from the follicular cells often harbor mutations leading to the constitutive activation of the PI3K and Ras signaling cascades. However, it is still unclear what their respective contribution to the neoplastic process is, as well as to what extent they interact. In this study AECC investigator DiCristofano used mice harboring a Kras oncogenic mutation and a Pten deletion targeted to the thyroid epithelium to address in vivo these questions. He shows that although each of these two pathways, alone, is unable to transform thyroid follicular cells, their simultaneous activation is highly oncogenic, leading to invasive and metastatic follicular carcinomas. In particular, phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase (PI3K) activation suppressed Kras-initiated feedback signals that uncouple mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK)/extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) kinase (MEK) and ERK activation, thus stunting MAPK activity; in addition, PI3K and Kras cooperated to drastically up-regulate cyclin D1 mRNA levels. Finally, combined pharmacologic inhibition of PI3K and MAPK completely inhibited the growth of double-mutant cancer cell lines, providing a compelling rationale for the dual targeting of these pathways in thyroid cancer. 

 
Click here to log in