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Expert Opin Investig Drugs. 2011 Mar;20(3):381-94. doi: 10.1517/13543784.2011.541154. Epub 2011 Feb 8.

Current and future directions in mammalian target of rapamycin inhibitors development.

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Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori, via Venezian 1, Milan, Italy.



The mammalian target of the rapamycin (mTOR) signalling pathway has a central role in the regulation of cell growth, survival and angiogenesis and the frequent dysregulation of this pathway in tumor cells makes it a crucial target in the treatment of cancer. Temsirolimus and everolimus are approved for use in metastatic renal cell carcinoma and temsirolimus is also approved for mantle cell lymphoma. All three rapalogs, temsirolimus, everolimus and deforolimus, are currently being evaluated in Phase III studies in several tumors.


This paper provides a review of the published literature on the mTOR pathway and related pathway signaling, analogs and novel mTOR inhibitors. The most recent and important data on the mTOR pathway, the role of mTOR inhibitors in cancer treatment and the current status of development of second-generation highly potent and selective mTOR inhibitors are overviewed.


The published data on new mTOR inhibitors are still limited, but the available preclinical results indicate that they have a potent antiproliferative activity against a broad panel of tumor cell lines, have a favorable safety profile, can obtain disease stabilization or even tumor regression and, in some cases, enhance the efficacy of other targeted or standard-of-care anticancer drugs when used in vivo in preclinical studies.

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