NYMC Faculty Publications

Targeting the mTOR Pathway Using Novel ATP‑Competitive Inhibitors, Torin1, Torin2 and XL388, in the Treatment of Glioblastoma

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International Journal of Oncology

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Mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR), which functions via two multiprotein complexes termed mTORC1 and mTORC2, is positioned in the canonical phosphoinositide 3‑kinase‑related kinase (PI3K)/AKT (PI3K/AKT) pathways. These complexes exert their actions by regulating other important kinases, such as 40S ribosomal S6 kinases (S6K), eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4E (elF4E)‑binding protein 1 (4E‑BP1) and AKT, to control cell growth, proliferation, migration and survival in response to nutrients and growth factors. Glioblastoma (GB) is a devastating form of brain cancer, where the mTOR pathway is deregulated due to frequent upregulation of the Receptor Tyrosine Kinase/PI3K pathways and loss of the tumor suppressor phosphatase and tensin homologue (PTEN). Rapamycin and its analogs were less successful in clinical trials for patients with GB due to their incomplete inhibition of mTORC1 and the activation of mitogenic pathways via negative feedback loops. Here, the effects of selective ATP‑competitive dual inhibitors of mTORC1 and mTORC2, Torin1, Torin2 and XL388, are reported. Torin2 exhibited concentration‑dependent pharmacodynamic effects on inhibition of phosphorylation of the mTORC1 substrates S6KSer235/236 and 4E‑BP1Thr37/46 as well as the mTORC2 substrate AKTSer473 resulting in suppression of tumor cell migration, proliferation and S‑phase entry. Torin1 demonstrated similar effects, but only at higher doses. XL388 suppressed cell proliferation at a higher dose, but failed to inhibit cell migration. Treatment with Torin1 suppressed phosphorylation of proline rich AKT substrate of 40 kDa (PRAS40) at Threonine 246 (PRAS40Thr246) whereas Torin2 completely abolished it. XL388 treatment suppressed the phosphorylation of PRAS40Thr246 only at higher doses. Drug resistance analysis revealed that treatment of GB cells with XL388 rendered partial drug resistance, which was also seen to a lesser extent with rapamycin and Torin1 treatments. However, treatment with Torin2 completely eradicated the tumor cell population. These results strongly suggest that Torin2, compared to Torin1 or XL388, is more effective in suppressing mTORC1 and mTORC2, and therefore in the inhibition of the GB cell proliferation, dissemination and in overcoming resistance to therapy. These findings underscore the significance of Torin2 in the treatment of GB.