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Melanoma frequently harbors genetic alterations in key molecules leading to the aberrant activation of PI3K and its downstream pathways. Although the role of PI3K/AKT/mTOR in melanoma progression and drug resistance is well documented, targeting the PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway showed less efficiency in clinical trials than might have been expected, since the suppression of the PI3K/mTOR signaling pathway-induced feedback loops is mostly associated with the activation of compensatory pathways such as MAPK/MEK/ERK. Consequently, the development of intrinsic and acquired resistance can occur. As a solid tumor, melanoma is notorious for its heterogeneity. This can be expressed in the form of genetically divergent subpopulations including a small fraction of cancer stem-like cells (CSCs) and non-cancer stem cells (non-CSCs) that make the most of the tumor mass. Like other CSCs, melanoma stem-like cells (MSCs) are characterized by their unique cell surface proteins/stemness markers and aberrant signaling pathways. In addition to its function as a robust marker for stemness properties, CD133 is crucial for the maintenance of stemness properties and drug resistance. Herein, the role of CD133-dependent activation of PI3K/mTOR in the regulation of melanoma progression, drug resistance, and recurrence is reviewed.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.