Gutkind, J Silvio (NIDCR)
Amornphimoltham, Panomwat (NIDCR)
Patel, Vyomesh (NIDCR)
Molinolo, Alfredo (NIDCR)
Pre-clinical proof of principle
It is frequently observed in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC), a cancer occurring mostly in the mouth, that the Akt/mTOR pathway is abnormally activated. Therefore, inhibiting this signaling pathway may help in treating this disease. Rapamycin and its analogs are known to inhibit the activity of mTOR so in principle they could serve as therapeutics for treating HNSCC.
Researchers at the NIH have developed a method of potentially preventing or treating HNSCC through the inhibition of mTOR activity. The proof of this principle was demonstrated by rapid regression of mouth tumors in mice afflicted with Cowden syndrome with the administration of rapamycin. Like HNSCC, development of this disease is linked to over activation of the Akt/mTOR pathway. Furthermore, the therapeutic potential of rapamycin was demonstrated using mice in experiments that model chronic exposure to tobacco, which promotes the development of HNSCC. Therefore, inhibitors of mTOR have considerable potential in the prevention and treatment of HNSCC.
- Preventing the development of oral cancer using mTOR inhibitors to halt progression of pre-cancerous lesions.