PI3K/PTEN signaling in angiogenesis and tumorigenesis

Adv Cancer Res. 2009;102:19-65. doi: 10.1016/S0065-230X(09)02002-8.


Phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) and phosphatase and tensin homolog deleted on chromosome 10 (PTEN) signaling pathway play an important role in multiple cellular functions such as cell metabolism, proliferation, cell-cycle progression, and survival. PI3K is activated by growth factors and angiogenesis inducers such as vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and angiopoietins. The amplification and mutations of PI3K and the loss of the tumor suppressor PTEN are common in various kinds of human solid tumors. The genetic alterations of upstream and downstream of PI3K signaling molecules such as receptor tyrosine kinases and AKT, respectively, are also frequently altered in human cancer. PI3K signaling regulates tumor growth and angiogenesis by activating AKT and other targets, and by inducing HIF-1 and VEGF expression. Angiogenesis is required for tumor growth and metastasis. In this review, we highlight the recent studies on the roles and mechanisms of PI3K and PTEN in regulating tumorigenesis and angiogenesis, and the roles of the downstream targets of PI3K for transmitting the signals. We also discuss the crosstalk of these signaling molecules and cellular events during tumor growth, metastasis, and tumor angiogenesis. Finally, we summarize the potential applications of PI3K, AKT, and mTOR inhibitors and their outcome in clinical trials for cancer treatment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / blood supply*
  • Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / enzymology*
  • PTEN Phosphohydrolase / metabolism*
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases / metabolism*
  • Phosphoinositide-3 Kinase Inhibitors
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*


  • Phosphoinositide-3 Kinase Inhibitors
  • PTEN Phosphohydrolase