The mammalian target of rapamycin mTOR is a central element in an evolutionary conserved signalling pathway that regulates cell growth, survival and proliferation, orchestrating signals originating from growth factors, nutrients or particular stress stimuli. Two important modulators of mTOR activity are the AKT and ERK/MAPK signalling pathways. Many studies have shown that mTOR plays an important role in the biology of malignant cells, including deregulation of the cell cycle, inactivation of apoptotic machinery and resistance to chemotherapeutic agents. The development of several mTOR inhibitors, in addition to rapamycin, has facilitated studies of the role of mTOR in cancer, and verified the antitumour effect of mTOR inhibition in many types of neoplasms, including lymphomas. Clinical trials of rapamycin derivatives in lymphoma patients are already in development and there are encouraging preliminary results, such as the substantial response of a subset of mantle cell lymphoma patients to the rapamycin analogue temsirolimus. Based on results obtained from in vitro and in vivo studies of the mTOR pathway in lymphomas, it seems that better understanding of mTOR regulation will reveal aspects of lymphomagenesis and contribute to the development of more powerful, targeted therapies for lymphoma patients.