Overexpression of phospho-eIF4E is associated with survival through AKT pathway in non-small cell lung cancer

Akihiko Yoshizawa, Junya Fukuoka, Shigeki Shimizu, Konstantin Shilo, Teri J. Franks, Stephen M. Hewitt, Takeshi Fujii, Carlos Cordon-Cardo, Jin Jen, William D. Travis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

121 Scopus citations


Purpose: The eukaryotic translation initiation factor complex 4E (eIF4E) is downstream in the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway. This study explored expression of eIF4E and its relationship with the PTEN/AKT and RAS/MEK/ERK pathways in non-small cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC). Experimental Design: The status of phosphorylated eIF4E (p-eIF4E), phosphorylated AKT (p-AKT), PTEN, phosphorylated tuberin (p-TSC2), phosphorylated mTOR (p-mTOR), phosphorylated S6 (p-S6), and phosphorylated Erk1/2 (p-Erk1/2) was studied using immunohistochemical analysis applied to a tissue microarray containing 300 NSCLCs. Staining results for each antibody were compared with clinical and pathologic features, and the relationship between staining results was explored. Results: Overexpression of p-eIF4E, p-AKT, p-TSC2, p-mTOR, p-S6, and p-Erk1/2 in NSCLC was found in 39.9%, 78.8%, 5.1%, 46.7%, 27.1%, and 16.6% of tumors, respectively. The phenotype of p-eIF4E correlated positively with that of p-AKT, p-TSC2, and p-S6 (P <0.001). Overall survival in NSCLC patients was significantly shorter in cases with overexpression of p-eIF4E and p-AKT alone and in combination (log-rank P <0.001, each). Cases with underexpression of PTEN were limited (6.4%), and this phenotype did not correlate with any clinical variable. In cluster analysis, the p-AKT/p-mTOR/p-eIF4E/p-S6-positive group had significantly shorter survival compared with the survival of all cases (P <0.001). Multivariate analysis showed that p-eIF4E overexpression is an independent prognostic factor for NSCLC (P = 0.004). Conclusions: This study shows that p-eIF4E expression in addition to p-AKT predicts poor prognosis in NSCLC. Moreover, the correlation between expression of p-eIF4E with p-AKT, as well as p-TSC2 and p-S6, indicates that eIF4E activation through the AKT pathway plays an important role in the progression of NSCLC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)240-248
Number of pages9
JournalClinical Cancer Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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