eIF4E/4E-BP ratio predicts the efficacy of mTOR targeted therapies

Tommy Alain, Masahiro Morita, Bruno D. Fonseca, Akiko Yanagiya, Nadeem Siddiqui, Mamatha Bhat, Domenick Zammit, Victoria Marcus, Peter Metrakos, Lucie Anne Voyer, Valentina Gandin, Yi Liu, Ivan Topisirovic, Nahum Sonenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

131 Scopus citations


Active-site mTOR inhibitors (asTORi) hold great promise for targeting dysregulated mTOR signaling in cancer. Because of the multifaceted nature of mTORC1 signaling, identification of reliable biomarkers for the sensitivity of tumors to asTORi is imperative for their clinical implementation. Here, we show that cancer cells acquire resistance to asTORi by downregulating eukaryotic translation initiation factor (eIF4E)-binding proteins (4E-BPs - EIF4EBP1, EIF4EBP2). Loss of 4E-BPs or overexpression of eIF4E renders neoplastic growth and translation of tumor-promoting mRNAs refractory to mTOR inhibition. Conversely, moderate depletion of eIF4E augments the anti-neoplastic effects of asTORi. The anti-proliferative effect of asTORi in vitro and in vivo is therefore significantly influenced by perturbations in eIF4E/4E-BP stoichiometry, whereby an increase in the eIF4E/4E-BP ratio dramatically limits the sensitivity of cancer cells to asTORi. We propose that the eIF4E/4E-BP ratio, rather than their individual protein levels or solely their phosphorylation status, should be considered as a paramount predictive marker for forecasting the clinical therapeutic response to mTOR inhibitors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6468-6476
Number of pages9
JournalCancer Research
Issue number24
StatePublished - Dec 15 2012
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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