Tumor Biology

, Volume 34, Issue 4, pp 1991-2002

First online:

Targeting the PI3K/AKT/mTOR signaling pathway in glioblastoma: novel therapeutic agents and advances in understanding

  • Arshawn SamiAffiliated withDepartment of Radiology and Imaging Sciences, Emory University School of Medicine
  • , Michael KarsyAffiliated withDepartment of Pathology, New York Medical CollegeDepartment of Neurosurgery, New York Medical College Email author 

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Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is a grade IV astrocytoma with a median survival of 12 months despite current multi-modal treatment options. GBM is distinguished clinicopathologically into primary and secondary subtypes. Mutations of phosphatase and tensin homolog, and subsequent upregulation of the downstream protein kinase B/mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling pathway, are commonly seen in primary GBM and less predominantly in secondary GBM. While investigations into targeted treatments of mTOR have been attempted, feedback regulation within the mTOR signaling pathway may account for therapeutic resistance. Currently, rapamycin analogs, dual-targeted mTOR complex 1 and 2 agents as well as dual mTOR and phosphatidylinositol-3 kinase-targeted agents are being investigated experimentally and in clinical trials. This review will discuss the experimental potential of these agents in the treatment of GBM and their current stage in the GBM drug pipeline. Knowledge obtained from the application of these agents can help in understanding the pathogenesis of GBM as well as delineating subsequent treatment strategies.


Glioblastoma mTOR AKT PI3K Targeted therapy