The RAS/MAP kinase and the RAS/PI3K/AKT pathways play a key role in the regulation of proliferation, differentiation and survival. The induction of these pathways depends on Receptor Tyrosine Kinases (RTKs) that are activated upon ligand binding. In cancer, constitutive and aberrant activations of components of those pathways result in increased proliferation, survival and metastasis. For instance, mutations affecting RTKs, Ras, B-Raf, PI3K and AKT are common in perpetuating the malignancy of several types of cancers and from different tissue origins. Therefore, these signaling pathways became prime targets for cancer therapy. This review aims to provide an overview about the most frequently encountered mutations, the pathogenesis that results from such mutations and the known therapeutic strategies developed to counteract their aberrant functions.
Keywords: AKT; MAP kinase; PI3K; RTK; cancer; small molecule inhibitors.