Neuroendocrine tumors resistant to mammalian target of rapamycin inhibitors: A difficult conversion from biology to the clinic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Deregulation of the phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K)/ protein kinase B (Akt) - mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling pathway is one of the most commonlyinvolved pathways in tumorigenesis. It has also been reported as altered in neuroendocrine tumors (NETs). mTOR inhibitors used in clinical practice are derived from rapamycin, an anti-cancer agent also used as an immunosuppressor after organ transplantation. Everolimus and temsirolimus are the two rapamycin-derived mTOR inhibitors used in NETs. Notably everolimus has been approved in advanced progressive well/moderatelydifferentiated pancreatic NETs (pNETs). It inhibits specifically the mTORC1 subunit of mTOR, not interacting with mTORC2. Although everolimus produced a significant prolongation of progression-free survival a number of patients with pNETs do not benefit from the drug due to early or late progression. Two supposed mechanisms of resistance to mTOR inhibitors are Akt and PI3K activation, by means of mTORC2 and insulin growth factor (IGF) - IGF receptor signaling, respectively. BEZ235 is a multi-targeted inhibitor binding to PI3K, mTORC1 and mTORC2, therefore potentially turning off all the supposed molecular targets of resistance to everolimus. The two clinical trials designed in pNETs were stopped early due to unmet statistical endpoint and the global clinical development of BEZ235 was also halted. Tolerability of this drug was challenging and conditioned the feasibility of therapy. The BEZ experience is an example of the huge difference between the preclinical and clinical setting and prompts us to pay more attention to the phase I step of clinical development and the design of phase II clinical trials.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)194-197
Number of pages4
JournalWorld Journal of Clinical Oncology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 10 2015


  • BEZ235
  • Everolimus
  • Mammalian target of rapamycin
  • Mammalian target of rapamycin C
  • Mammalian target of rapamycin inhibitor
  • Phosphoinositide 3-kinase
  • Resistance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology


Dive into the research topics of 'Neuroendocrine tumors resistant to mammalian target of rapamycin inhibitors: A difficult conversion from biology to the clinic'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this