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      PI3K/AKT/mTOR Signaling Pathway in Breast Cancer: From Molecular Landscape to Clinical Aspects


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          Breast cancer is a serious health problem worldwide, representing the second cause of death through malignancies among women in developed countries. Population, endogenous and exogenous hormones, and physiological, genetic and breast-related factors are involved in breast cancer pathogenesis. The phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)/protein kinase B (AKT)/mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) is a signaling pathway involved in cell proliferation, survival, invasion, migration, apoptosis, glucose metabolism and DNA repair. In breast tumors, PIK3CA somatic mutations have been reported, located in exon 9 and exon 20. Up to 40% of PIK3CA mutations are estrogen receptor (ER) positive and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) -negative in primary and metastatic breast cancer. HER2 is overexpressed in 20–30% of breast cancers. HER1, HER2, HER3 and HER4 are membrane receptor tyrosine kinases involved in HER signaling to which various ligands can be attached, leading to PI3K/AKT activation. Currently, clinical studies evaluate inhibitors of the PI3K/AKT/mTOR axis. The main purpose of this review is to present general aspects of breast cancer, the components of the AKT signaling pathway, the factors that activate this protein kinase B, PI3K/AKT-breast cancer mutations, PI3K/AKT/mTOR-inhibitors, and the relationship between everolimus, temsirolimus and endocrine therapy.

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          Molecular portraits of human breast tumours.

          Human breast tumours are diverse in their natural history and in their responsiveness to treatments. Variation in transcriptional programs accounts for much of the biological diversity of human cells and tumours. In each cell, signal transduction and regulatory systems transduce information from the cell's identity to its environmental status, thereby controlling the level of expression of every gene in the genome. Here we have characterized variation in gene expression patterns in a set of 65 surgical specimens of human breast tumours from 42 different individuals, using complementary DNA microarrays representing 8,102 human genes. These patterns provided a distinctive molecular portrait of each tumour. Twenty of the tumours were sampled twice, before and after a 16-week course of doxorubicin chemotherapy, and two tumours were paired with a lymph node metastasis from the same patient. Gene expression patterns in two tumour samples from the same individual were almost always more similar to each other than either was to any other sample. Sets of co-expressed genes were identified for which variation in messenger RNA levels could be related to specific features of physiological variation. The tumours could be classified into subtypes distinguished by pervasive differences in their gene expression patterns.
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            Breast cancer statistics, 2019

            This article is the American Cancer Society's biennial update on female breast cancer statistics in the United States, including data on incidence, mortality, survival, and screening. Over the most recent 5-year period (2012-2016), the breast cancer incidence rate increased slightly by 0.3% per year, largely because of rising rates of local stage and hormone receptor-positive disease. In contrast, the breast cancer death rate continues to decline, dropping 40% from 1989 to 2017 and translating to 375,900 breast cancer deaths averted. Notably, the pace of the decline has slowed from an annual decrease of 1.9% during 1998 through 2011 to 1.3% during 2011 through 2017, largely driven by the trend in white women. Consequently, the black-white disparity in breast cancer mortality has remained stable since 2011 after widening over the past 3 decades. Nevertheless, the death rate remains 40% higher in blacks (28.4 vs 20.3 deaths per 100,000) despite a lower incidence rate (126.7 vs 130.8); this disparity is magnified among black women aged <50 years, who have a death rate double that of whites. In the most recent 5-year period (2013-2017), the death rate declined in Hispanics (2.1% per year), blacks (1.5%), whites (1.0%), and Asians/Pacific Islanders (0.8%) but was stable in American Indians/Alaska Natives. However, by state, breast cancer mortality rates are no longer declining in Nebraska overall; in Colorado and Wisconsin in black women; and in Nebraska, Texas, and Virginia in white women. Breast cancer was the leading cause of cancer death in women (surpassing lung cancer) in four Southern and two Midwestern states among blacks and in Utah among whites during 2016-2017. Declines in breast cancer mortality could be accelerated by expanding access to high-quality prevention, early detection, and treatment services to all women.
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              Identification of human triple-negative breast cancer subtypes and preclinical models for selection of targeted therapies.

              Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is a highly diverse group of cancers, and subtyping is necessary to better identify molecular-based therapies. In this study, we analyzed gene expression (GE) profiles from 21 breast cancer data sets and identified 587 TNBC cases. Cluster analysis identified 6 TNBC subtypes displaying unique GE and ontologies, including 2 basal-like (BL1 and BL2), an immunomodulatory (IM), a mesenchymal (M), a mesenchymal stem-like (MSL), and a luminal androgen receptor (LAR) subtype. Further, GE analysis allowed us to identify TNBC cell line models representative of these subtypes. Predicted "driver" signaling pathways were pharmacologically targeted in these cell line models as proof of concept that analysis of distinct GE signatures can inform therapy selection. BL1 and BL2 subtypes had higher expression of cell cycle and DNA damage response genes, and representative cell lines preferentially responded to cisplatin. M and MSL subtypes were enriched in GE for epithelial-mesenchymal transition, and growth factor pathways and cell models responded to NVP-BEZ235 (a PI3K/mTOR inhibitor) and dasatinib (an abl/src inhibitor). The LAR subtype includes patients with decreased relapse-free survival and was characterized by androgen receptor (AR) signaling. LAR cell lines were uniquely sensitive to bicalutamide (an AR antagonist). These data may be useful in biomarker selection, drug discovery, and clinical trial design that will enable alignment of TNBC patients to appropriate targeted therapies.

                Author and article information

                Int J Mol Sci
                Int J Mol Sci
                International Journal of Molecular Sciences
                26 December 2020
                January 2021
                : 22
                : 1
                : 173
                [1 ]Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Dental Medicine, Carol Davila University of Medicine and Pharmacy, 8 Eroii Sanitari Blvd, 050474 Bucharest, Romania; daniela.miricescu@ 123456umfcd.ro (D.M.); alexandra.totan@ 123456umfcd.ro (A.T.); maria.greabu@ 123456umfcd.ro (M.G.)
                [2 ]Department of Anatomy and Embryology, Faculty of Medicine, Carol Davila University of Medicine and Pharmacy, 8 Eroii Sanitari Blvd, 050474 Bucharest, Romania
                [3 ]Department of Family Medicine and Clinical Base, Dr. Carol Davila Central Military Emergency University Hospital, 134 Calea Plevnei, 010825 Bucharest, Romania; constantin.stefani@ 123456umfcd.ro
                Author notes
                [* ]Correspondence: iulia.stanescu@ 123456umfcd.ro (I.-I.S.-S.); silviu.badoiu@ 123456umfcd.ro (S.C.B.)
                Author information
                © 2020 by the authors.

                Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

                : 29 November 2020
                : 23 December 2020

                Molecular biology
                breast cancer,estrogen receptor-positive,her2,pi3k/akt/mtor pathway,endocrine resistance


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