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Future Oncol. 2014 Feb;10(3):443-56. doi: 10.2217/fon.13.178.

mTOR inhibitors: changing landscape of endocrine-resistant breast cancer.

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Department of Medicine, University of Maryland, Greenebaum Cancer Center, Baltimore, MD, USA.


Most breast cancer (BC) patients have tumors that express hormone receptors (HRs). Although endocrine therapy, such as aromatase inhibitors, is very effective, most patients with metastatic HR-positive (HR(+)) BC become resistant to endocrine therapy at some point in their treatment and subsequently require chemotherapy. The PI3K/mTOR pathway is often upregulated in endocrine-resistant BC patients and, therefore, has been one of the targets for development of new agents. Recently, a Phase III trial (BOLERO-2) in aromatase inhibitor-resistant BC patients showed a significant improvement in time to progression with the combination of everolimus and exemestane compared with exemestane alone, confirming the importance of the PI3K/mTOR pathway in endocrine-resistant BC. Side effects from mTOR inhibitors are manageable, but early detection and proactive management are required to ensure patients' safety, compliance and continuity of treatment. Thus, mTOR inhibitors offer a new hope and promise for patients with HR(+) BC.

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