The mTOR Signalling Pathway in Human Cancer

Institute of Molecular Pathology and Immunology of University of Porto (IPATIMUP), University of Porto, 4200-465, Porto, Portugal
International Journal of Molecular Sciences (Impact Factor: 2.86). 12/2012; 13(2):1886-918. DOI: 10.3390/ijms13021886
Source: PubMed


The conserved serine/threonine kinase mTOR (the mammalian target of rapamycin), a downstream effector of the PI3K/AKT pathway, forms two distinct multiprotein complexes: mTORC1 and mTORC2. mTORC1 is sensitive to rapamycin, activates S6K1 and 4EBP1, which are involved in mRNA translation. It is activated by diverse stimuli, such as growth factors, nutrients, energy and stress signals, and essential signalling pathways, such as PI3K, MAPK and AMPK, in order to control cell growth, proliferation and survival. mTORC2 is considered resistant to rapamycin and is generally insensitive to nutrients and energy signals. It activates PKC-α and AKT and regulates the actin cytoskeleton. Deregulation of multiple elements of the mTOR pathway (PI3K amplification/mutation, PTEN loss of function, AKT overexpression, and S6K1, 4EBP1 and eIF4E overexpression) has been reported in many types of cancers, particularly in melanoma, where alterations in major components of the mTOR pathway were reported to have significant effects on tumour progression. Therefore, mTOR is an appealing therapeutic target and mTOR inhibitors, including the rapamycin analogues deforolimus, everolimus and temsirolimus, are submitted to clinical trials for treating multiple cancers, alone or in combination with inhibitors of other pathways. Importantly, temsirolimus and everolimus were recently approved by the FDA for the treatment of renal cell carcinoma, PNET and giant cell astrocytoma. Small molecules that inhibit mTOR kinase activity and dual PI3K-mTOR inhibitors are also being developed. In this review, we aim to survey relevant research, the molecular mechanisms of signalling, including upstream activation and downstream effectors, and the role of mTOR in cancer, mainly in melanoma.

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    • "Furthermore, the multivariate analysis showed that depth of tumor invasion, lymph node or distant metastasis, WHO grading, and tumor thrombus were independent factors for patients with gastric cancer (Table 3). 4. Discussion mTOR signaling is one of the key pathways that regulates tumorigenesis and progression of malignancies [4] [5]. Specific mTOR inhibitors, such as rapamycin analogues, have already achieved clinical efficacy in some cancer types [17] [18]. "
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    ABSTRACT: The rapamycin insensitive companion of mTOR (Rictor) is an essential subunit of mTOR complex 2 (mTORC2), maintains the integrity of the complex and functions as regulator of Akt full activation. Rictor has been implicated to be involved in growth and progression of malignancies, however, little is known about its expression and prognostic role in gastric cancer in particular. Therefore, we investigated the relationship of Rictor expression with clinical outcomes, together with pAktSer473 and pS6, two downstream substrates of mTORC2 and mTORC1, in 396 gastric cancer tissue samples via immunohistochemistry. The results showed that 74.0% and 55.8% of tumors were Rictor and pAktSer473 positive staining, respectively, which correlated well with each other. Patients with positive expressions had poorer overall survival and relapse-free survival compared with those negative staining. Both Rictor and pAktSer473 expression were associated with lymph node metastasis, TNM stage, and WHO grading. Rictor was also correlated with tumor size, depth of invasion, and tumor thrombus, while pAktSer473 was also correlated with distant metastasis. In spite of 67.4% expression rate was presented in gastric cancer tissues, no significant association was observed between pS6Ser235/236, representing mTORC1 activity, and clinicopathological features or prognosis. These results suggest that mTORC2/Rictor/pAkt may play a more important role than mTORC1/pS6 in tumor progression, which could act as a prognostic biomarker or potential therapeutic target in gastric cancer. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Inc.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2015 · Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
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    • "In fact, these molecules bind to an intracellular protein called FKBP-12, which in turn ties mTORC1, thus blocking the mTOR serine/threonine kinase signaling. The interruption of mTOR signaling suppresses the production of proteins implicated in cell growth and angiogenesis [Sarbassov et al. 2005; Thomas et al. 2006; Brugarolas, 2007; Populo et al. 2012]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Everolimus is an oral inhibitor of mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR-I) and is currently approved for the treatment of metastatic renal cell carcinoma (mRCC) after failure of first-line vascular endothelial growth factor receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI). In this narrative review, we aim to report the available evidence about the use of everolimus as second-line therapy for mRCC. A literature search was performed using PubMed/MEDLINE and abstracts from major conferences on clinical oncology as sources. We report data from prospective as well as retrospective and real world data studies and we analyze the safety and efficacy profile of everolimus as second-line therapy for mRCC. Although different drugs are currently available for the second-line treatment of mRCC, everolimus represents a feasible and safe option in this setting, especially for patients who have experienced high-grade toxicity or are still carrying TKI-related toxicities from first-line treatment.
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    • "During the process of pNET development, the receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK)-PI3K/PTEN-AKT-TSC1/2-mTOR signaling pathway plays an important role in the control of cell growth, proliferation, survival, and differentiation 19, 20. TSC2 and TSC1 can form a dimer and inhibit the GTPase activity of Rheb, a critical activator of mTOR signaling 21. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background and Aim: Pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor (pNET) is a clinically rare and heterogeneous group of tumors; its pharmacogenetic characteristics are not fully understood. This study was designed to examine the relationship between key gene variations and disease development and prognosis among Chinese patients with pNET. Methods: Various pNET associated genes such as DAXX/ATRX, KRAS, MEN1, PTEN, TSC2, SMAD4/DPC, TP53 and VHL were analyzed in high-throughput sequencing. The links between the gene mutations and the clinicopathological features and prognosis of the patients were determined. Results: The somatic mutation frequencies of the DAXX/ATRX, KRAS, MEN1, mTOR pathway genes (PTEN and TSC2), SMAD4/DPC, TP53, and VHL in Chinese pNET patients were 54.05%, 10.81%, 35.14%, 54.05%, 2.70%, 13.51%, and 40.54%, respectively, while the same figures in Caucasians pNET patients were 43%, 0%, 44%, 15%, 0%, 3%, and 0%, respectively. The numbers of mutated genes were from 0 to 6; 4 patients with more than 3 mutated genes had higher proliferation (Ki-67) index or nerve vascular invasion or organ involvement, but only 9 of 27 patients with 3 or few mutated genes had such features. Mutations in KRAS and DAXX/ATRX, but not other genes analyzed, were associated with a shortened survival. Conclusion: The mutation rates of these genes in Chinese pNET patients are different from those in Caucasians. A higher number of gene mutations and the DAXX/ATRX and KRAS gene mutations are correlated with a poor prognosis of patients with pNET.
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