Astrocyte elevated gene-1 (AEG-1) displays oncogenic properties. Its expression is elevated in diverse neoplastic states and it cooperates with Ha-ras to promote cellular transformation. Overexpression of AEG-1 augments invasion and anchorage-independent growth of transformed cells, while AEG-1 siRNA inhibits Ha-ras-mediated colony formation, supporting a potential functional role in tumorigenesis. Additionally, oncogenic Ha-ras induces AEG-1 expression through the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)-Akt signaling pathway. In the present study, we investigated whether AEG-1 could induce serum-independent cell growth, another property of oncogenes. Overexpression of AEG-1 inhibited serum starvation-induced apoptosis through activation of PI3K-Akt signaling, one of the effector pathways induced by activated Ras. AEG-1 also affected the phosphorylation state of Akt substrates that are implicated in apoptosis suppression, including glycogen synthase kinase 3beta, c-Myc, murine double minute 2, p53, p21/mda-6 and Bad. Additionally, AEG-1 blocked the activity of serum starvation-induced caspases. Taken together, these observations provide evidence that AEG-1 is an oncogene cooperating with Ha-ras as well as functioning as a downstream target gene of Ha-ras and may perform a central role in Ha-ras-mediated carcinogenesis. Activation of survival pathways may be one mechanism by which AEG-1 exerts its oncogenic properties.