Introduction: Deregulated Akt activity leading to apoptosis inhibition, enhanced proliferation and drug resistance has been shown to be responsible for 35–70% of advanced metastatic melanomas. Of the three isoforms, the majority of melanomas have elevated Akt3 expression and activity. Hence, potent inhibitors targeting Akt are urgently required, which is possible only if (a) the factors responsible for the failure of Akt inhibitors in clinical trials is known; and (b) the information pertaining to synergistically acting targeted therapeutics is available. Areas covered: This review provides a brief introduction of the PI3K-Akt signaling pathway and its role in melanoma development. In addition, the functional role of key Akt pathway members such as PRAS40, GSK3 kinases, WEE1 kinase in melanoma development are discussed together with strategies to modulate these targets. Efficacy and safety of Akt inhibitors is also discussed. Finally, the mechanism(s) through which Akt leads to drug resistance is discussed in this expert opinion review. Expert opinion: Even though Akt play key roles in melanoma tumor progression, cell survival and drug resistance, many gaps still exist that require further understanding of Akt functions, especially in the (a) metastatic spread; (b) circulating melanoma cells survival; and (c) melanoma stem cells growth.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Medicine
- Drug Discovery
- Clinical Biochemistry