Background: The mTOR-inhibitor everolimus improves progression-free survival in advanced pancreatic neuroendocrine tumours (PNETs). However, adaptive resistance to mTOR inhibition is described.Methods: QGP-1 and BON-1, two human PNET cell lines, were cultured with increasing concentrations of everolimus up to 22 weeks to reach a dose of 1 μM everolimus, respectively, 1000-fold and 250-fold initial IC50. Using total DNA content as a measure of cell number, growth inhibitory dose-response curves of everolimus were determined at the end of resistance induction and over time after everolimus withdrawal. Response to ATP-competitive mTOR inhibitors OSI-027 and AZD2014, and PI3K-mTOR inhibitor NVP-BEZ235 was studied. Gene expression of 10 PI3K-Akt-mTOR pathway-related genes was evaluated using quantitative real-time PCR (RT-qPCR).Results: Long-term everolimus-treated BON-1/R and QGP-1/R showed a significant reduction in everolimus sensitivity. During a drug holiday, gradual return of everolimus sensitivity in BON-1/R and QGP-1/R led to complete reversal of resistance after 10-12 weeks. Treatment with AZD2014, OSI-027 and NVP-BEZ235 had an inhibitory effect on cell proliferation in both sensitive and resistant cell lines. Gene expression in BON-1/R revealed downregulation of MTOR, RICTOR, RAPTOR, AKT and HIF1A, whereas 4EBP1 was upregulated. In QGP-1/R, a downregulation of HIF1A and an upregulation of ERK2 were observed.Conclusions: Long-term everolimus resistance was induced in two human PNET cell lines. Novel PI3K-AKT-mTOR pathway-targeting drugs can overcome everolimus resistance. Differential gene expression profiles suggest different mechanisms of everolimus resistance in BON-1 and QGP-1.