Mechanisms of mTOR inhibitor resistance in cancer therapy

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128 Scopus citations


Mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) is a conserved serine/threonine kinase that regulates cell cycle progression, protein translation, metabolism, and cellular proliferation. The mTOR pathway promotes cell proliferation under energy or nutrient-rich conditions by increasing ribosomal biogenesis and protein synthesis. Since enhanced activity of the mTOR pathway is frequently observed in malignant cells, inhibition of this kinase has become an attractive strategy to treat cancer. Rapamycin and its analogs temsirolimus, everolimus, and ridaforolimus referred to as "rapalogs" have demonstrated promising efficacy against renal cell carcinoma and are under investigation for the treatment of other malignancies. However, the emergence of drug resistance may ultimately limit the utility of rapalog therapy. Here we summarize the known mechanisms of resistance to mTOR-inhibitor therapy and describe potential strategies to overcome these for the current agents that target this pathway.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)17-27
Number of pages11
JournalTargeted Oncology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Apoptosis
  • Autophagy
  • Drug resistance
  • PIM kinase
  • Rapamycin
  • mTOR Inhibitor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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