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Chemical Inhibitors and microRNAs (miRNA) Targeting the Mammalian Target of Rapamycin (mTOR) Pathway: Potential for Novel Anticancer Therapeutics

Division of Molecular and Gene Therapies, Griffith Health Institute, School of Medical Science, Griffith University, Gold Coast, QLD 4215, Australia
Biology Department, College of Medicine, University of Dammam, Dammam 31451, Saudi Arabia
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2013, 14(2), 3874-3900;
Received: 13 September 2012 / Revised: 8 January 2013 / Accepted: 10 January 2013 / Published: 13 February 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Molecular Oncology (special issue))
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The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) is a critical regulator of many fundamental features in response to upstream cellular signals, such as growth factors, energy, stress and nutrients, controlling cell growth, proliferation and metabolism through two complexes, mTORC1 and mTORC2. Dysregulation of mTOR signalling often occurs in a variety of human malignant diseases making it a crucial and validated target in the treatment of cancer. Tumour cells have shown high susceptibility to mTOR inhibitors. Rapamycin and its derivatives (rapalogs) have been tested in clinical trials in several tumour types and found to be effective as anticancer agents in patients with advanced cancers. To block mTOR function, they form a complex with FKBP12 and then bind the FRB domain of mTOR. Furthermore, a new generation of mTOR inhibitors targeting ATP-binding in the catalytic site of mTOR showed potent and more selective inhibition. More recently, microRNAs (miRNA) have emerged as modulators of biological pathways that are essential in cancer initiation, development and progression. Evidence collected to date shows that miRNAs may function as tumour suppressors or oncogenes in several human neoplasms. The mTOR pathway is a promising target by miRNAs for anticancer therapy. Extensive studies have indicated that regulation of the mTOR pathway by miRNAs plays a major role in cancer progression, indicating a novel way to investigate the tumorigenesis and therapy of cancer. Here, we summarize current findings of the role of mTOR inhibitors and miRNAs in carcinogenesis through targeting mTOR signalling pathways and determine their potential as novel anti-cancer therapeutics. View Full-Text
Keywords: mTOR; Akt; S6K; Rapamycin; cancer; therapy; miRNA mTOR; Akt; S6K; Rapamycin; cancer; therapy; miRNA

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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AlQurashi, N.; Hashimi, S.M.; Wei, M.Q. Chemical Inhibitors and microRNAs (miRNA) Targeting the Mammalian Target of Rapamycin (mTOR) Pathway: Potential for Novel Anticancer Therapeutics. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2013, 14, 3874-3900.

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