Potential Targets for Prevention of Colorectal Cancer: a Focus on PI3K/Akt/mTOR and Wnt Pathways


Colorectal cancer (CRC) is one of the most common cancers in many parts of the world. Its development is a multi-step process involving three distinct stages, initiation that alters the molecular message of a normal cell, followed by promotion and progression that ultimately generates a phenotypically altered transformed malignant cell. Reports have suggested an association of the phosphoinositide-3-kinase (PI3K)/Akt pathway with colon tumorigenesis. Activation of Akt signaling and impaired expression of phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN) (a negative regulator of Akt) has been reported in 60-70% of human colon cancers and inhibitors of PI3K/Akt signaling have been suggested as potential therapeutic agents. Around 80% of human colon tumors possess mutations in the APC gene and half of the remainder feature β-catenin gene mutations which affect downstream signaling of the PI3K/Akt pathway. In recent years, there has been a great focus in targeting these signaling pathways, with natural and synthetic drugs reducing the tumor burden in different experiment models. In this review we survey the role of PI3K/Akt/mTOR and Wnt signaling in CRC.