The mTOR pathway is a critical regulator of cell growth, proliferation, metabolism, and survival. Dysregulation of mTOR signaling has been observed in most cancers and, thus, the mTOR pathway has been extensively studied for therapeutic intervention. Rapamycin is a natural product that inhibits mTOR with high specificity. However, its efficacy varies by dose in several contexts. First, different doses of rapamycin are needed to suppress mTOR in different cell lines; second, different doses of rapamycin are needed to suppress the phosphorylation of different mTOR substrates; and third, there is a differential sensitivity of the two mTOR complexes mTORC1 and mTORC2 to rapamycin. Intriguingly, the enigmatic properties of rapamycin dosage can be explained in large part by the competition between rapamycin and phosphatidic acid (PA) for mTOR. Rapamycin and PA have opposite effects on mTOR whereby rapamycin destabilizes and PA stabilizes both mTOR complexes. In this review, we discuss the properties of rapamycin dosage in the context of anticancer therapeutics. Mol Cancer Ther; 15(3); 1–7. ©2016 AACR.
Note: Supplementary data for this article are available at Molecular Cancer Therapeutics Online (http://mct.aacrjournals.org/).
- Received August 26, 2015.
- Revision received October 23, 2015.
- Accepted November 3, 2015.
- ©2016 American Association for Cancer Research.