Progression and metastasis of small cell lung carcinoma: the role of the PI3K/Akt/mTOR pathway and metabolic alterations

Ildiko Krencz, Daniel Sztankovics, Titanilla Danko, Anna Sebestyen, Andras Khoor

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Small cell lung carcinoma (SCLC) is characterized by high metastatic rate and poor prognosis. The platinum-based chemotherapy still represents the backbone of the therapy; however, acquired resistance develops almost in all patients. Although SCLC has been formerly considered a homogeneous disease, recent advances in SCLC research have highlighted the importance of inter- and intratumoral heterogeneity and have resulted in the subclassification of SCLC. The newly described SCLC subtypes are characterized by distinct biological behavior and vulnerabilities that can be therapeutically exploited. The PI3K/Akt/mTOR pathway is frequently affected in SCLC, and its activation represents a promising therapeutic target. Since the mTOR pathway is a master regulator of cellular metabolism, its alterations may also influence the bioenergetic processes of SCLC cells. Despite the encouraging preclinical results, both mTOR and metabolic inhibitors have met limited clinical success so far. Patient selection for personalized therapy, the development of rational drug combinations, and a better understanding of heterogeneity and spatiotemporal evolution of the tumor cells may improve efficacy and can help to overcome acquired resistance. Here we provide a summary of current investigations regarding the role of the mTOR pathway and metabolic alterations in the progression and metastasis formation of SCLC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1141-1157
Number of pages17
JournalCancer and Metastasis Reviews
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • Metabolism
  • Metastasis
  • Small cell lung carcinoma
  • mTOR

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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