Accumulated studies have shown that activation of the Akt pathway plays a pivotal role in malignant transformation and chemoresistance by inducing cell survival, growth, migration, and angiogenesis. Therefore, Akt is believed to be a critical target for cancer intervention. Here, we report the discovery of a small molecule Akt pathway inhibitor, Akt/ protein kinase B signaling inhibitor-2 (API-2), by screening the National Cancer Institute Diversity Set. API-2 suppressed the kinase activity and phosphorylation level of Akt. The inhibition of Akt kinase resulted in suppression of cell growth and induction of apoptosis in human cancer cells that harbor constitutively activated Akt due to overexpression of Akt or other genetic alterations such as PTEN mutation. API-2 is highly selective for Akt and does not inhibit the activation of phosphatidylinositol 3′-kinase, phosphoinositide-dependent kinase-1, protein kinase C, serum-and glucocorticold-inducible kinase, protein kinase A, signal transducer and activators of transcription 3, extracellular signal-regulated kinase-1/2, or c-Jun NH2-terminal kinase. Furthermore, API-2 potently inhibited tumor growth in nude mice of human cancer cells in which Akt is aberrantly expressed/activated but not of those cancer cells in which it is not. These findings provide strong evidence for pharmacologically targeting Akt for anticancer drug discovery.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research