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Hyperactivation of the growth-promoting Akt signalling pathway is common in many human tumours, and studies in mice indicate that ablation of Akt activity reduces tumour initiation and progression in vivo. However, it is unlikely that complete Akt inhibition can be tolerated in a clinical setting, so it is unclear whether drugs that partially inhibit the Akt pathway will have a therapeutic effect. Wullschleger et al. now show that a moderate (~twofold) decrease in Akt activity delays the development of tumours in cancer-prone PTEN+/− mice, providing hope that Akt inhibitors that are currently under development will benefit cancer patients.