Expression of pERK and pAKT in pediatric high grade astrocytomas: Correlation with YKL40 and prognostic significance

Manila Antonelli, Maura Massimino, Isabella Morra, Maria Luisa Garrè, Marina Paola Gardiman, Francesca Romana Buttarelli, Antonietta Arcella, Felice Giangaspero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Ras signaling pathway, consisting of mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) and PI3K/AKT signaling, is a prominent oncogenic pathways in adult diffuse gliomas, but few studies have evaluated such pathways in pediatric malignant gliomas. We investigated by immunohistochemistry MAPK and AKT signaling in a series of 28 pediatric high-grade gliomas (WHO grade III and IV). We sought a possible association of phospho-ERK (p-ERK) and phospho-AKT (p-AKT) with expression of other proteins involved in the Ras pathway, that is, YKL40, epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), EGFR vIII and c-Met. Moreover we correlated the expression of p-ERK and p-AKT with prognosis. No cases showed expression for c-Met and EGFR, and only one case was positive for EGFR vIII. YKL-40 protein was expressed in 43% of cases. We detected expression of p-ERK and p-AKT in 61% and 57%, respectively, of pediatric high grade gliomas. Statistical analysis comparing the two groups in term of high and low p-ERK and p-AKT expression showed a trend toward worse overall survival in patients with high expression of p-AKT. The activation of ERK and AKT suggest a possible role of this protein in inducing activation of the Ras signaling pathway in pediatric high-grade gliomas. Moreover high levels of p-AKT are associated with worse overall survival.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-138
Number of pages6
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2012


  • AKT
  • Children
  • High grade gliomas
  • MAPK
  • Prognosis
  • YKL40

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology


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