IGF-1R inhibition induces MEK phosphorylation to promote survival in colon carcinomas

The insulin-like growth factor 1 receptor (IGF-1R) governs several signaling pathways for cell proliferation, survival, and anti-apoptosis. Thus, targeting IGF-1R appears as a reasonable rationale for tumor treatment. However, clinical studies showed that inhibition of IGF-1R has very limited efficacy due to the development of resistance to IGF-1R blockade in tumor cells. Here, we discovered that prolonged treatment of colon cancer cells with IGF-1R inhibitors (BMS-754807 and GSK1838705A) stimulates p70 KDa ribosomal protein S6 kinase 1 (p70S6K1) activation, a well-known kinase signaling for cell survival. We also found that p70S6K1 activation by IGF-1R inhibition is independent of K-Ras and PIK3CA mutations that frequently occur in colon cancer. Besides the increased p70S6K1 phosphorylation, the phosphorylation of mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase 1 and 2 (MEK1/2) was elevated in the cells treated with BMS-754807. Interestingly, the increases in MEK1/2 and p70S6K1 phosphorylation were also observed when cells were subjected to the treatment of AKT inhibitor or genetic knockdown of AKT2 but not AKT1, suggesting that AKT2 inhibition stimulates MEK1/2 phosphorylation to activate p70S6K1. Conversely, inhibition of MEK1/2 by MEK1/2 inhibitor (U0126) or knockdown of MEK1 and MEK2 by corresponding mek1 and mek2 siRNA enhanced AKT phosphorylation, indicating mutual inhibition between AKT and MEK. Furthermore, the combination of BMS-754807 and U0126 efficiently decreased the cell viability and increased cleaved caspase 3 and apoptosis in vitro and in vivo. Our data suggest that the treatment of colon tumor cells with IGF-1R inhibitors stimulates p70S6K1 activity via MEK1/2 to promote survival, providing a new strategy for colorectal cancer therapeutics.

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S2703 GSK1838705A GSK1838705A is a potent IGF-1R inhibitor with IC50 of 2.0 nM, modestly potent to IR and ALK with IC50 of 1.6 nM and 0.5 nM, respectively, and little activity to other protein kinases. (17) (2)

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