This study identifies a novel cross-talk paradigm between the type I insulin-like growth factor receptor (IGF1R) and epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) in colon cancer cells. IGF1R activation by ligand exposure in growth factor-deprived cells induces Akt activation in the FET, CBS, and GEO colon cancer cell lines. Investigation of IGF1R-mediated signaling pathways using small interfering RNA approaches indicated that, as expected, phosphatidylinositol 3′-kinase (PI3K) was activated by IGF1R. Mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) activity as reflected by phospho-extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) induction was not significantly activated until later times following release of these cells from growth factor deprivation stress. The appearance of phospho-ERK was proximal to EGFR activation. Treatment of cells with the PI3K inhibitor LY294002 before release from stress resulted in a concentration-dependent loss of EGFR activation, whereas treatment with the MAPK inhibitor PD98059 did not block EGFR activation, indicating that EGFR activation was downstream of the IGF1R/PI3K pathway. PD98059 inhibition of MAPK was associated with a concentration- dependent reduction in EGFR-mediated phospho-ERK. EGFR inhibitor blocked induction of phospho-ERK, showing that MAPK activity was a consequence of EGFR-mediated signaling. On the other hand, a small-molecule IGF1R inhibitor, PQIP, blocked Akt phosphorylation. The divergent signaling functions of IGF1R and EGFR suggested the potential for synergism by a combination of therapy directed at the two receptors. Combination treatment with PQIP and EGFR inhibitor Tarceva resulted in synergistic effects as indicated by combination index analysis in all three cell lines tested.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research