PI3K/AKT/mTOR signaling pathway activity in IDH-mutant diffuse glioma and clinical implications

Neuro Oncol. 2022 Sep 1;24(9):1471-1481. doi: 10.1093/neuonc/noac064.


Background: IDH-mutant diffuse gliomas are heterogeneous, and improved methods for optimal patient therapeutic stratification are needed. PI3K/AKT/mTOR signaling activity can drive disease progression and potential therapeutic inhibitors of the pathway are available. Yet, the prevalence of PI3K/AKT/mTOR signaling pathway activity in IDH-mutant glioma is unclear and few robust strategies to assess activity in clinical samples exist.

Methods: PI3K/AKT/mTOR signaling pathway activity was evaluated in a retrospective cohort of 132 IDH-mutant diffuse glioma (91 astrocytoma and 41 oligodendroglioma, 1p/19q-codeleted) through quantitative multiplex immunoprofiling using phospho-specific antibodies for PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway members, PRAS40, RPS6, and 4EBP1, and tumor-specific anti-IDH1 R132H. Expression levels were correlated with genomic evaluation of pathway intrinsic genes and univariate and multivariate Cox proportional hazard regression models were used to evaluate the relationship with outcome.

Results: Tumor-specific expression of p-PRAS40, p-RPS6, and p-4EBP1 was common in IDH-mutant diffuse glioma and increased with CNS WHO grade from 2 to 3. Genomic analysis predicted pathway activity in 21.7% (13/60) while protein evaluation identified active PI3K/AKT/mTOR signaling in 56.6% (34/60). Comparison of expression in male versus female patients suggested sexual dimorphism. Of particular interest, when adjusting for clinical prognostic factors, the level of phosphorylation of RPS6 was strongly associated with PFS (P < .005). Phosphorylation levels of both PRAS40 and RPS6 showed an association with PFS in univariate analysis.

Conclusions: Our study emphasizes the value of proteomic assessment of signaling pathway activity in tumors as a means to identify relevant oncogenic pathways and potentially as a biomarker for identifying aggressive disease.

Keywords: PI3K/AKT/mTOR; biomarker; glioma; outcome; quantitative immunoprofiling.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Brain Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Female
  • Glioma* / pathology
  • Humans
  • Isocitrate Dehydrogenase / genetics
  • Isocitrate Dehydrogenase / metabolism
  • Male
  • Mutation
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases / genetics
  • Proteomics
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt / genetics
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Signal Transduction
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism


  • Isocitrate Dehydrogenase
  • MTOR protein, human
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases