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Cell Cycle. 2009 Feb 1;8(3):403-13. Epub 2009 Feb 6.

PI3K/mTORC1 activation in hamartoma syndromes: therapeutic prospects.

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Department of Medicine, and Abramson Cancer Center, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104-3403, USA.


Dysregulated activity of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) and mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) is characteristic feature of hamartoma syndromes. Hamartoma syndromes, dominantly inherited cancer predisposition disorders, affect multiple organs and are manifested by benign tumors consisting of various cell types native to the tissues in which they arise. In the past few years, three inherited hamartoma syndromes, Cowden syndrome (CS), tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) syndrome, and Peutz-Jeghens syndrome (PJS), have all been linked to a common biochemical pathway: the hyperactivation of PI3K/mTORC1 intracellular signaling. Three tumor suppressors, PTEN (phosphatases and tensin homolog), tuberous sclerosis complex TSC1/TSC2, and LKB1, are negative regulators of PI3K/mTORC1 signaling; disease-related inactivation of these tumor suppressors results in the development of PTEN-associated hamartoma syndromes, TSC and PJS, respectively. The goal of this review is to provide a roadmap for navigating the inherently complex regulation of PI3K/mTORC1 signaling while highlighting the progress that has been made in elucidating the cellular and molecular mechanisms of hamartoma syndromes and identificating potential therapeutic targets for their treatment. Importantly, because the PI3K/mTORC1 pathway is activated in the majority of common human cancers, the identification of novel molecular target(s) for the treatment of hamartoma syndromes may have a broader translational potential, and is critically important not only for therapeutic intervention in hamartoma disorders, but also for the treatment of cancers.

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