Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) remains a highly lethal disease, unusually resistant against therapy. It is generally felt that stratification of patients for personalized medicine is the way forward. Here, we report that a subpopulation of PDACs shows strong activation of the mTOR signaling cassette. Moreover, we show that inhibition of mTOR in pancreatic cancer cell lines showing high levels of mTOR signaling is associated with cancer cell death. Finally, we show using fine needle biopsies the existence of a subpopulation of PDAC patients with high activation of the mTOR signaling cassette and provide evidence that inhibition of mTOR might be clinically useful for this group. Thus, our results define an unrecognized subpopulation of PDACs, characterized by high activation of mTOR and show that identification of this specific patient group in the early phase of diagnosis is feasible. (C) 2014 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.