Quercetin is an abundant micronutrient in our daily diet. Several beneficial health effects are associated with the dietary
uptake of this bioflavonoid, including alleviating effects on chronic inflammation and atherosclerosis. A variety of in vitro data indicate a
possible use of quercetin for cancer treatment purposes through its interaction with multiple cancer-related pathways. Among these,
recent data reveal that quercetin can inhibit mTOR activity in cancer cells. Inhibition of the mTOR signaling pathway by quercetin has
directly been described and can further be deduced from its interference with PI3K-dependent Akt stimulation, AMP-dependent protein
kinase activation and hamartin upregulation. The ability of quercetin to interfere with both mTOR activity and activation of the PI3K/Akt
signaling pathway gives quercetin the advantage to function as a dual-specific mTOR/PI3K inhibitor. The mTOR complex, often
hyperactivated in cancer, is a crucial regulator of homeostasis controlling essential pathways leading to cell growth, protein biosynthesis
and autophagy. The ability of quercetin to inhibit mTOR activity by multiple pathways makes this otherwise safe bioflavonoid an
interesting tool for the treatment of cancers and other diseases associated with mTOR deregulation.
Keywords: Quercetin, autophagy, mTOR, AMPK, Akt, proteasome, anti-oxidant, cancer.
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