Natural Compounds as Potential Regulators of the Phosphatidylinositol 3′ Kinase (PI3K) Pathway in Breast Cancer
Breast cancer is one of the most prevalent forms of cancer in women both globally and in India. Although breast cancer is characterized by different molecular subtypes, a majority of breast cancers appear to have mutations in the phosphatidylinositol 3′ kinase (PI3K)/ protein kinase B (Akt) pathway. Dysregulation of the PI3K/ Akt pathway in breast cancers plays important roles in promoting tumour growth, proliferation and invasion. Targeting PI3K mediated signalling cascades could be therefore of value for breast cancer treatment. Studies with synthetic inhibitors of the PI3K/ Akt pathway have yielded positive results but the efficacy shown by many of these inhibitors appear to be compromised by deleterious side effects. An alternative to syn-thetic inhibitors is the use of natural phytochemical compounds with anti-tumorigenic potential like apigenin, pomolic acid, resveratrol and its deriva-tives, curcumin, epigallocatechin-3 gallate and thymoquinone as potential inhibitors of PI3K/Akt signalling in breast cancer and such a strategy could lead to lesser side effects and a lower treatment cost. The current study ex-amines the importance of the PI3K pathway in breast cancer and discusses how regulation of aberrant signalling through this pathway by natural com-pounds could play an important role in breast cancer therapy.