Germline alterations of the tumor suppressor PTEN have been extensively characterized in patients with PTEN hamartoma tumor syndromes, encompassing subsets of Cowden syndrome, Bannayan-Riley-Ruvalcaba syndrome, Proteus and Proteus-like syndromes, as well as autism spectrum disorder. Studies have shown an increase in the risk of developing specific cancer types in the presence of a germline PTEN mutation. Furthermore, outside of the familial setting, somatic variants of PTEN occur in numerous malignancies. Here we introduce and discuss the prospect of moving toward a systems pathology approach for PTEN diagnostics, incorporating clinical and molecular pathology data with the goal of improving the clinical management of patients with a PTEN mutation. Detection of a germline PTEN mutation can inform cancer surveillance and in the case of somatic mutation, have value in predicting disease course. Given that PTEN functions in the PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway, identification of a PTEN mutation may highlight new therapeutic opportunities and/or inform therapeutic choices.
Haddadi, N, Lin, Y, Travis, G, Simpson, AM, Nassif, NT & McGowan, EM 2018, 'PTEN/PTENP1: 'Regulating the regulator of RTK-dependent PI3K/Akt signalling', new targets for cancer therapy.', Molecular cancer, vol. 17, no. 1.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Regulation of the PI-3 kinase (PI3K)/Akt signalling pathway is essential for maintaining the integrity of fundamental cellular processes, cell growth, survival, death and metabolism, and dysregulation of this pathway is implicated in the development and progression of cancers. Receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) are major upstream regulators of PI3K/Akt signalling. The phosphatase and tensin homologue (PTEN), a well characterised tumour suppressor, is a prime antagonist of PI3K and therefore a negative regulator of this pathway. Loss or inactivation of PTEN, which occurs in many tumour types, leads to overactivation of RTK/PI3K/Akt signalling driving tumourigenesis. Cellular PTEN levels are tightly regulated by a number of transcriptional, post-transcriptional and post-translational regulatory mechanisms. Of particular interest, transcription of the PTEN pseudogene, PTENP1, produces sense and antisense transcripts that exhibit post-transcriptional and transcriptional modulation of PTEN expression respectively. These additional levels of regulatory complexity governing PTEN expression add to the overall intricacies of the regulation of RTK/PI-3 K/Akt signalling. This review will discuss the regulation of oncogenic PI3K signalling by PTEN (the regulator) with a focus on the modulatory effects of the sense and antisense transcripts of PTENP1 on PTEN expression, and will further explore the potential for new therapeutic opportunities in cancer treatment.