mTOR signalling and cellular metabolism are mutual determinants in cancer

Nat Rev Cancer. 2018 Dec;18(12):744-757. doi: 10.1038/s41568-018-0074-8.


Oncogenic signalling and metabolic alterations are interrelated in cancer cells. mTOR, which is frequently activated in cancer, controls cell growth and metabolism. mTOR signalling regulates amino acid, glucose, nucleotide, fatty acid and lipid metabolism. Conversely, metabolic inputs, such as amino acids, activate mTOR. In this Review, we discuss how mTOR signalling rewires cancer cell metabolism and delineate how changes in metabolism, in turn, sustain mTOR signalling and tumorigenicity. Several drugs are being developed to perturb cancer cell metabolism. However, their efficacy as stand-alone therapies, similar to mTOR inhibitors, is limited. Here, we discuss how the interdependence of mTOR signalling and metabolism can be exploited for cancer therapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acids / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Fatty Acids / metabolism
  • Glucose / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Lipid Metabolism
  • Molecular Targeted Therapy / methods
  • Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Signal Transduction
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism*


  • Amino Acids
  • Fatty Acids
  • MTOR protein, human
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Glucose