Background: This paper reviews the mammalian Target Of Rapamycin (mTOR) pathway dysregulation in breast cancer, and the current evidence targeting this pathway directly or through activation of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) as an additional therapeutic opportunity for intervention in breast cancer.
Methods: Relevant articles were identified through computerised searches of Medline and Pubmed. Secondary articles were identified from the reference lists of key papers and by hand searching.
Results and conclusion: The current consensus to target the AMPK/mTOR pathway in breast cancer is based on in vitro and epidemiological evidences. A low incidence of cancer in diabetic patients on metformin has been explained in vitro by the drug's anti-proliferative effect through activation of AMPK. There is a need to explore the anticancer effects of metformin and the potential to develop the therapeutic avenues offered by targeting the AMPK/mTOR pathway.