Low PTEN expression and overexpression of phosphorylated AktSer473 and AktThr308 are associated with poor overall survival in upper tract urothelial carcinoma
- Wen-Hui Weng
- Kai-Jie Yu
- Liang-Chen Li
- Yeu-Jye Pang
- Ying-Tzu Chen
- See-Tong Pang
- Cheng-Keng Chuang
Affiliations: Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology, Graduate Institute of Biochemical and Biomedical Engineering, National Taipei University of Technology, Taipei 10608, Taiwan, R.O.C., Department of Gastroenterology, Mater Misericordiae University Hospital, Dublin D07 R2WY, Ireland, College of Medicine, Graduate Institute of Clinical Medical Sciences, Chang Gung University, Taoyuan 33302, Taiwan, R.O.C.
- Published online on: October 9, 2020 https://doi.org/10.3892/ol.2020.12210
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The PI3K/Akt signaling pathway serves an essential role in various cellular processes, including cell growth, survival, cell motility, angiogenesis and cell metabolism. Loss of PTEN expression and hyperactivation of Akt can result in tumorigenesis. Previous studies observed expression of the Akt protein and absence of the PTEN protein in bladder cancer and non‑small cell lung carcinoma tissues. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the expression status and prognostic value of PTEN and the PI3K/Akt signaling pathway in Taiwanese patients with upper tract urothelial carcinoma (UTUC). Archival formalin‑fixed, paraffin‑embedded (FFPE) tissues from 65 UTUC cases were stained via immunohistochemistry for PTEN, phosphorylated (p)Akt serine (Ser)473 and pAkt threonine (Thr)308. The expression levels of each protein were significantly correlated with clinicopathological parameters. PTEN, pAktSer473 and pAktThr308 protein expression levels were higher in adjacent normal tissues compared with those in tumor tissues. Cytoplasmic PTEN protein expression levels were lower in high‑stage tumors compared with those in low‑stage tumors, and nuclear and cytoplasmic pAktThr308 protein expression levels were higher in high‑grade tumors compared with those in low‑grade tumors. Univariate analysis showed that high pathological tumor stage (pT2‑4) [P=0.01; hazard ratio (HR)=3.40; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.34‑8.60], metastatic status (P=0.003; HR=3.55, 95% CI, 1.55‑8.11), low cytoplasmic PTEN protein expression levels (P=0.016; HR=3.14; 95% CI, 1.24‑7.95) and high cytoplasmic pAktSer473 protein expression levels (P=0.019, HR=2.71, 95% CI, 1.18‑6.21) were predictive of poor overall survival. However, only metastatic status (P=0.031; HR=2.73; 95% CI, 1.10‑6.78), low cytoplasmic PTEN protein expression levels (P=0.017; HR=3.29; 95% CI, 1.24‑8.73) and high cytoplasmic pAktSer473 protein expression levels (P=0.027; HR=2.64; 95% CI, 1.12‑6.23) remained significant in the multivariate analysis. Kaplan‑Meier survival analysis showed that high T stage, metastasis, low expression levels of cytoplasmic PTEN protein and high expression levels of cytoplasmic pAktSer473 protein were significantly associated with poor survival (P=0.006, 0.001, 0.011 and 0.014, respectively). Co‑expression of PTENlow/pAktSer473/high and pAktThr308/high phenotypes was associated with a less favorable overall survival (P=0.001). Overall, the present findings demonstrated that low expression levels of PTEN and high expression levels of pAktSer473 and pAktThr308 were predictors for poor overall survival in patients with UTUC.