Deregulation of the mammalian target of rapamycin pathway (mTOR pathway) is associated with human cancer. The relationship between mTOR pathway and histone acetylation is still unclear in gastric cancer (GC). Immunohistochemistry was used to examine the phosphorylation of mTOR and eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4E-binding protein 1 (4E-BP1) in GC tissues. MKN45 and SGC7901 cells were treated with the mTOR inhibitor rapamycin (RAPA) alone or in combination with the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase inhibitor LY294002 and the histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitor trichostatin A (TSA). Small interfering RNA (siRNA) technology was also used to knockdown mTOR. Phosphorylated mTOR and phosphorylated 4E-BP1 were expressed in 71.1% and 68.4% of the human GC tissues tested, respectively; significantly higher than the levels in para-cancerous tissues (50% and 57.9%) and normal tissues (44.6% and 29%). RAPA markedly inhibited cell proliferation, induced G1 cell cycle arrest, and reduced phosphorylation of p70 S6 protein kinase (p70S6K) and 4E-BP1 in GC cells, particularly when used in combination with LY294002 or TSA. The mRNA expression of the tumour suppressor gene p21WAF1 increased significantly in GC cells treated with both RAPA and TSA. Histone acetylation also increased after RAPA and TSA treatment or siRNA knockdown of mTOR. Our findings suggest that the mTOR pathway is activated in GC, and also that inhibition of mTOR enhances the ability of TSA to suppress cell proliferation and lead to cell cycle arrest via increasing histone acetylation and p21WAF1 transcription in human MKN45 and SGC7901 GC cells.