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Drug Resist Updat. 2001 Dec;4(6):378-91.

Mechanisms of resistance to rapamycins.

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Department of Molecular Pharmacology, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, TN 38105-2794, USA.


Rapamycins represent a novel family of anticancer agents, currently including rapamycin and its derivatives, CCI-779 and RAD001. Rapamycins inhibit the function of the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), and potently suppress tumor cell growth by arresting cells in G1 phase or potentially inducing apoptosis of cells, in culture or in xenograft tumor models. However, recent data indicate that genetic mutations or compensatory changes in tumor cells influence the sensitivity of rapamycins. First, mutations of mTOR or FKBP12 prevent rapamycin from binding to mTOR, conferring rapamycin resistance. Second, mutations or defects of mTOR-regulated proteins, including S6K1, 4E-BP1, PP2A-related phosphatases, and p27(Kip1) also render rapamycin insensitivity. In addition, the status of ATM, p53, PTEN/Akt and 14-3-3 are also associated with rapamycin sensitivity. To better explore the role of rapamycins against tumors, this review will summarize the current knowledge of the mechanism of action of rapamycins, and progress in understanding mechanisms of acquired or intrinsic resistance.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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