Vascular tumors are endothelial cell neoplasms whose mechanisms of tumorigenesis are poorly understood. Moreover, current therapies, particularly those for malignant lesions, have little beneficial effect on clinical outcomes. In this study, we show that endothelial activation of the Akt1 kinase is sufficient to drive de novo tumor formation. Mechanistic investigations uncovered opposing functions for different Akt isoforms in this regulation, where Akt1 promotes and Akt3 inhibits vascular tumor growth. Akt3 exerted negative effects on tumor endothelial cell growth and migration by inhibiting activation of the translation regulatory kinase S6-Kinase (S6K) through modulation of Rictor expression. S6K in turn acted through a negative feedback loop to restrain Akt3 expression. Conversely, S6K signaling was increased in vascular tumor cells where Akt3 was silenced, and the growth of these tumor cells was inhibited by a novel S6K inhibitor. Overall, our findings offer a preclinical proof of concept for the therapeutic utility of treating vascular tumors, such as angiosarcomas, with S6K inhibitors.
©2014 American Association for Cancer Research.