Phosphatases: the new brakes for cancer development?

Enzyme Res. 2012;2012:659649. doi: 10.1155/2012/659649. Epub 2011 Oct 31.

Abstract

The phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) pathway plays a pivotal role in the maintenance of processes such as cell growth, proliferation, survival, and metabolism in all cells and tissues. Dysregulation of the PI3K/Akt signaling pathway occurs in patients with many cancers and other disorders. This aberrant activation of PI3K/Akt pathway is primarily caused by loss of function of all negative controllers known as inositol polyphosphate phosphatases and phosphoprotein phosphatases. Recent studies provided evidence of distinct functions of the four main phosphatases-phosphatase and tensin homologue deleted on chromosome 10 (PTEN), Src homology 2-containing inositol 5'-phosphatase (SHIP), inositol polyphosphate 4-phosphatase type II (INPP4B), and protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A)-in different tissues with respect to regulation of cancer development. We will review the structures and functions of PTEN, SHIP, INPP4B, and PP2A phosphatases in suppressing cancer progression and their deregulation in cancer and highlight recent advances in our understanding of the PI3K/Akt signaling axis.