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The survival rates for women with ovarian cancer have shown scant improvement in recent years, with a 5-year survival rate of less than 40% for women diagnosed with advanced ovarian cancer. High-grade serous ovarian cancer (HGSOC) is the most lethal subtype where the majority of women develop recurrent disease and chemotherapy resistance, despite over 70%-80% of patients initially responding to platinum-based chemotherapy. The phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K)/protein kinase B (AKT)/mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling pathway regulates many vital processes such as cell growth, survival and metabolism. However, this pathway is frequently dysregulated in cancers including different subtypes of ovarian cancer, through amplification or somatic mutations of phosphatidylinositol-4,5-bisphosphate 3-kinase catalytic subunit alpha (PIK3CA), amplification of AKT isoforms, or deletion or inactivation of PTEN. Further evidence indicates a role for the PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway in the development of chemotherapy resistance in ovarian cancer. Thus, targeting key nodes of the PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway is a potential therapeutic prospect. In this review, we outline dysregulation of PI3K signaling in ovarian cancer, with a particular emphasis on HGSOC and platinum-resistant disease. We review pre-clinical evidence for inhibitors of the main components of the PI3K pathway and highlight past, current and upcoming trials in ovarian cancers for different inhibitors of the pathway. Whilst no inhibitors of the PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway have thus far advanced to the clinic for the treatment of ovarian cancer, several promising compounds which have the potential to restore platinum sensitivity and improve clinical outcomes for patients are under evaluation and in various phases of clinical trials.

Original publication




Journal article


Cancer Drug Resist

Publication Date





573 - 595


Ovarian cancer, PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway, chemotherapy resistance, high-grade serous, inhibitors, therapeutics