The Pathogenic Role of PI3K/AKT Pathway in Cancer Onset and Drug Resistance: An Updated Review

Cancers (Basel). 2021 Aug 5;13(16):3949. doi: 10.3390/cancers13163949.


The PI3K/AKT pathway is one of the most frequently over-activated intracellular pathways in several human cancers. This pathway, acting on different downstream target proteins, contributes to the carcinogenesis, proliferation, invasion, and metastasis of tumour cells. A multi-level impairment, involving mutation and genetic alteration, aberrant regulation of miRNAs sequences, and abnormal phosphorylation of cascade factors, has been found in multiple cancer types. The deregulation of this pathway counteracts common therapeutic strategies and contributes to multidrug resistance. In this review, we underline the involvement of this pathway in patho-physiological cell survival mechanisms, emphasizing its key role in the development of drug resistance. We also provide an overview of the potential inhibition strategies currently available.

Keywords: Akt/PI3K pathway; drug resistance; mTOR; miRNA; regulatory mechanism; tumour.

Publication types

  • Review