Mechanistic Target of Rapamycin (mTOR) Inhibitors

Denise Wang, Howard J. Eisen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

12 Scopus citations


Mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) inhibitors are macrocyclic lactone antibiotics derived from Streptomyces hygroscopicus that prevent T lymphocyte activation and B cell differentiation. Unlike calcineurin inhibitors (CNIs) that inhibit cytokine production, mTOR inhibitors block the cytokine signal transduction to arrest cells in the G1 to S phase. This class of drugs is commonly used for post-transplantation and cancer management because of its immunosuppressive and antiproliferative properties, respectively. The potential uses of mTOR inhibitors are heavily explored because of their impact on cell growth and proliferation. However, mTOR inhibitors have a broad range of effects that can result in adverse reactions, but side effects can occur with other immunosuppressive agents as well. Thus, the performance of mTOR inhibitors is compared to the outcomes and adverse effects of other immunosuppressive drugs or the combination of other immunosuppressants and mTOR inhibitors. Because mTOR regulates many downstream pathways, mTOR inhibitors can affect these pathways to manage various diseases. Sirolimus (rapamycin) is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat post-renal transplantation and lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM). Everolimus is approved by the FDA to treat postmenopausal advanced hormone receptor-positive, HER2-negative breast cancer in women, progressive neuroendocrine tumors of pancreatic origin (PNET), advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC), renal angiomyolipoma (AML) and tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC), and subependymal giant cell astrocytoma (SEGA) associated with TSC as well as renal and liver transplantation. Temsirolimus is approved by the FDA to treat advanced RCC. Opportunities to use mTOR inhibitors as therapy for other transplantation, metabolic disease, and cancer management are being researched. mTOR inhibitors are often called proliferation signal inhibitors (PSIs) because of their effects on proliferation pathways.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHandbook of Experimental Pharmacology
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media Deutschland GmbH
Number of pages20
StatePublished - 2022

Publication series

NameHandbook of Experimental Pharmacology
ISSN (Print)0171-2004
ISSN (Electronic)1865-0325

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)


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