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Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2013;14(7):4033-9.

LKB1/AMPK/mTOR signaling pathway in non-small-cell lung cancer.

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  • 1Respiratory Diseases Research Center, Department of Respiratory Medicine, The Second Affiliated Hospital of Medical College, Xi'an Jiaotong University, Xi'an, China.


Links between cancer and metabolism have been suggested for a long time but compelling evidence for this hypothesis came from the recent molecular characterization of the LKB1/AMPK signaling pathway as a tumor suppressor axis. Besides the discovery of somatic mutations in the LKB1 gene in certain type of cancers, a critical emerging point was that the LKB1/AMPK axis remains generally functional and could be stimulated by pharmacological molecules such as metformin in cancer cells. In addition, AMPK plays a central role in the control of cell growth, proliferation and autophagy through the regulation of mTOR activity, which is consistently deregulated in cancer cells. Targeting of AMPK/mTOR is thus an attractive strategy in the development of therapeutic agents against non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). In this review, the LKB1/AMPK/mTOR signaling pathway is described, highlighting its protective role, and opportunities for therapeutic intervention, and clinical trials in NSCLC.

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