Table of Contents
ISRN Otolaryngology
Volume 2012, Article ID 953089, 7 pages
Review Article

mTOR Pathway and mTOR Inhibitors in Head and Neck Cancer

Department of Surgery, The University of Hong Kong and Queen Mary Hospital, 102 Pokfulam Road, Hong Kong

Received 31 July 2012; Accepted 25 September 2012

Academic Editors: J. M. Millan and M. Tahara

Copyright © 2012 Wei Gao et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Head and neck cancer is the sixth most common type of Cancer worldwide. Since conventional treatment regimens are nonselective and are associated with systemic toxicities, intense investigations focus on molecular targeted therapy with high selectivity and low adverse effects. mTOR signaling pathway has been found to be activated in head and neck cancer, making it attractive for targeted therapy. In addition, expression levels of mTOR and downstream targets eIF4E, 4EBP1, S6K1, and S6 are potential diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers for head and neck cancer. mTOR inhibitors, such as rapamycin and its derivatives temsirolimus and everolimus, exhibit inhibitory effects on head and neck cancer in both in vitro cell line model and in vivo xenograft model. A large number of clinical trials have been initiated to evaluate the therapeutic effects of mTOR inhibitors on patients with head and neck cancer. mTOR inhibitor has potential as a single therapeutic agent or in combination with radiation, chemotherapeutic agents, or other targeted therapeutic agents to obtain synergistic repression on head and neck cancer.