We recently reported that internal deletion of PTEN tumor suppressor gene in OPM2 and Delta47 myeloma lines led to high Akt activation. Re-expression of PTEN induced strong apoptosis and growth inhibition. To understand the biologic importance of the phosphatidylinositol 3 kinase (PI3K)/Akt activation affected by PTEN deletion, we analysed apoptosis and growth inhibition by applying PI3K inhibitors to myeloma lines and by expressing Akt constructs. The PI3K inhibitors preferentially suppressed PTEN-null myeloma growth to those expressing PTEN, indicating that PI3K activation is more critical for growth and survival of those lines with PTEN mutations than others expressing a functional PTEN gene. Since PTEN-null myeloma lines exhibited much stronger Akt activation than PTEN-expressing cells in response to insulin-like growth factor I stimulation, we determined whether Akt could be responsible for PI3K-mediated cell survival and growth of PTEN-null myeloma lines. Expression of an active Akt, but not its kinase dead mutant, reversed wortmannin- and dexamethasone-induced apoptosis and growth inhibition in PTEN-null myeloma lines, suggesting that Akt lies downstream of PI3K for PTEN-null myeloma survival and dexamethasone resistance. In summary, we have provided evidence that PTEN-null myeloma cells are stringently dependent on the PI3K/Akt activation for cell survival. These results may provide a basis to treat myeloma patients with PI3K and Akt inhibitors.