Akt, also known as protein kinase B (PKB), belongs to the AGC family of protein kinases. It acts downstream of the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) and regulates diverse cellular processes, including cell proliferation, cell survival, metabolism, tumor growth and metastasis. The PI3K/Akt signaling pathway is frequently deregulated in breast cancer and plays an important role in the development and progression of breast cancer. There are three closely related members in the Akt family, namely Akt1(PKBα), Akt2(PKBβ) and Akt3(PKBγ). Although Akt isoforms share similar structures, they exhibit redundant, distinct as well as opposite functions. While the Akt signaling pathway is an important target for cancer therapy, an understanding of the isoform-specific function of Akt is critical to effectively target this pathway. However, our perception regarding how Akt isoforms contribute to the genesis and progression of breast cancer changes as we gain new knowledge. The purpose of this review article is to analyze current literatures on distinct functions of Akt isoforms in breast cancer.
- AGC kinase
- Akt isoforms
- Breast cancer initiation and progression
- Cell proliferation