Phosphatidylinositol-3-OH kinase/AKT and survivin pathways as critical targets for geranylgeranyltransferase I inhibitor-induced apoptosis

Oncogene. 2004 Jan 22;23(3):706-15. doi: 10.1038/sj.onc.1207171.


Geranylgeranyltransferase I inhibitors (GGTIs) represent a new class of anticancer drugs. However, the mechanism by which GGTIs inhibit tumor cell growth is still unclear. Here, we demonstrate that GGTI-298 and GGTI-2166 induce apoptosis in both cisplatin-sensitive and -resistant human ovarian epithelial cancer cells by inhibition of PI3K/AKT and survivin pathways. Following GGTI-298 or GGTI-2166 treatment, kinase levels of PI3K and AKT were decreased and survivin expression was significantly reduced. Ectopic expression of constitutively active AKT2 and/or survivin significantly rescue human cancer cells from GGTI-298-induced apoptosis. Previous studies have shown that Akt mediates growth factor-induced survivin, whereas p53 inhibits survivin expression. However, constitutively active AKT2 failed to rescue the GGTIs downregulation of survivin. Further, GGTIs suppress survivin expression and induce programmed cell death in both wild-type p53 and p53-deficient ovarian cancer cell lines. These data indicate that GGTI-298 and GGTI-2166 induce apoptosis by targeting PI3K/AKT and survivin parallel pathways independent of p53. Owing to the fact that upregulation of Akt and survivin as well as inactivation of p53 are frequently associated with chemoresistance, GGTIs could be valuable agents to overcome antitumor drug resistance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Alkyl and Aryl Transferases / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Apoptosis / drug effects*
  • Benzamides / pharmacology*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • In Situ Nick-End Labeling
  • Inhibitor of Apoptosis Proteins
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins / metabolism*
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / enzymology
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / pathology
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases / metabolism*
  • Survivin


  • BIRC5 protein, human
  • Benzamides
  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • GGTI 298
  • Inhibitor of Apoptosis Proteins
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Survivin
  • Alkyl and Aryl Transferases
  • geranylgeranyltransferase type-I
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases