RESEARCH SUPPORT, NON-U.S. GOV'T
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Sustained Akt Activity Is Required to Maintain Cell Viability in Seborrheic Keratosis, a Benign Epithelial Tumor.

Seborrheic keratoses (SKs) are common benign skin tumors that share many morphological features with their malignant counterpart, squamous cell carcinoma. SKs frequently have acquired oncogenic mutations in the receptor tyrosine kinase/phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/Akt signaling cascade. We developed a reliable culture system to study SKs in vitro and screened these cells using a library of selective kinase inhibitors to evaluate effects on cell survival. These benign tumors are sensitive to inhibition by ATP-competitive Akt inhibitors, including A-443654 and GSK690693. RNA interference-mediated Akt suppression mimicked the effects of enzyme inhibition in cultured cells. Akt inhibition suppressed phosphorylation of downstream targets of Akt kinase that are critical for cell survival, including MDM2 and FOXO3a, and induced apoptosis. Cell death was also dependent on p53, mutations in which, although common in cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma, have not been identified in SKs. Intact explants of SKs were also sensitive to Akt inhibition. In addition to the obvious therapeutic implications of these findings, identifying the signaling characteristics that differentiate benign and malignant tumors may inform our understanding of the malignant state.

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