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Cancer Treat Rev. 2013 Aug;39(5):403-12. doi: 10.1016/j.ctrv.2012.12.002. Epub 2013 Jan 23.

Promise of rapalogues versus mTOR kinase inhibitors in subset specific breast cancer: old targets new hope.

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  • 1Edith Sanford Breast Cancer, Sanford Research, 2301 E 60th Street N, Sioux Falls, SD 57104, USA.


The PI3K-AKT-mTOR network has been the major focus of attention for cancer researchers (both in the clinic and the laboratory) in the last decade. An incomplete knowledge of the molecular biology of this complex network has seen an expansion of first generation allosteric mTOR inhibitors, rapalogues, but also biomarker studies designed to identify the best responders of these agents. Currently, research in this pathway has focused on the dual nature of mTOR that is integrated by mTOR-RAPTOR complex (mTORC1) and mTOR-RICTOR complex (mTORC2). These two complexes are regulated by different upstream proteins and also regulated by multiple different compensatory feedback loops. The related advantage of feedback regulation of signaling systems is that it allows diversification in signal response. This deeper understanding has facilitated the development of a novel second generation of inhibitors that are able to affect both mTORC1 and mTORC2, and their downstream effectors, through inhibition of their catalytic activity (ATP competitive inhibitors, attacking the kinase domain of this protein) than binding to the FKBP12 regulatory proteins as for rapalogues. This article reviews the newest insight in the signaling network of the mTOR pathway, preclinical/clinical status of mTOR inhibitors (including second generation of kinase inhibitors) and then focuses on the development of a new wave of research related to combination therapies in subset specific breast tumors.

Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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