Analysis of the activation status of Akt, NFkappaB, and Stat3 in human diffuse gliomas

Lab Invest. 2004 Aug;84(8):941-51. doi: 10.1038/labinvest.3700123.


Loss of phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN) and amplification of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) gene contribute to the progression of gliomas. As downstream targets of the PTEN and EGFR signaling pathways, Akt, NFkappaB, and signal transducer and activator of transcription-3 (Stat3) have been shown to play important roles in the control of cell proliferation, apoptosis, and oncogenesis. We examined the activation status of Akt, NFkappaB, and Stat3 in 259 diffuse gliomas using tissue microarrays and immunohistochemistry, and evaluated their association with glioma grade. We observed significant positive correlations between the activation status of Akt and NFkappaB and glioma grade. In contrast, only focal immunoreactivity for phospho-Stat3 was observed in < 9% of high-grade gliomas. In addition, we observed a significant correlation between the activation of Akt and NFkappaB. Functional correlation between Akt activation and the activation of NFkappaB was confirmed in U251MG GBM cells in which inhibition of Akt activation either by stable expression of PTEN or by the PI3-kinase inhibitors, wortmannin and LY294002, led to a concomitant decrease in NFkappaB-binding activity. Thus, our results demonstrate that constitutive activation of Akt and NFkappaB, but not Stat3, contributes significantly to the progression of diffuse gliomas, and activation of Akt may lead to NFkappaB activation in high-grade gliomas.

MeSH terms

  • Brain Neoplasms / genetics
  • Brain Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Brain Neoplasms / pathology
  • Case-Control Studies
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • Enzyme Activation
  • Gene Expression
  • Genes, erbB-1
  • Glioma / genetics
  • Glioma / metabolism*
  • Glioma / pathology
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • NF-kappa B / genetics
  • NF-kappa B / metabolism*
  • PTEN Phosphohydrolase
  • Phosphoric Monoester Hydrolases / genetics
  • Protein Array Analysis
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases / genetics
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / genetics
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / metabolism*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt
  • STAT3 Transcription Factor
  • Signal Transduction
  • Trans-Activators / genetics
  • Trans-Activators / metabolism*
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins / genetics


  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • NF-kappa B
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • STAT3 Transcription Factor
  • STAT3 protein, human
  • Trans-Activators
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins
  • AKT1 protein, human
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt
  • Phosphoric Monoester Hydrolases
  • PTEN Phosphohydrolase
  • PTEN protein, human