Activation of the insulin-like growth factor-1 receptor induces resistance to epidermal growth factor receptor antagonism in head and neck squamous carcinoma cells

Mark J. Jameson, Andrew D. Beckler, Linnea E. Taniguchi, Amir Allak, Lisa B. VanWagner, Nora G. Lee, William C. Thomsen, Matthew A. Hubbard, Christopher Y. Thomas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations

Abstract

Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKI) have poor efficacy in head and neck squamous carcinoma cells (HNSCC). Because the IGF-1 receptor (IGF1R) generates potent prosurvival signals and has been implicated in therapeutic resistance, its ability to induce resistance to EGFR-TKIs was studied in vitro. Five HNSCC cell lines showed reduced sensitivity to the EGFR-TKI gefitinib when the IGF1R was activated. In SCC-25 and Cal27 cells, gefitinib inhibited basal and EGF-stimulated EGFR, extracellular signal-regulated kinase (Erk), and Akt phosphorylation and reduced cell number. This correlated with initiation of apoptosis based on a 4-fold increase in PARP cleavage and a 2.5-fold increase in Annexin V positivity. The apoptotic response and reduction in cell number were blocked by IGF1R activation, which resulted in phosphorylation of both Erk and Akt. In both the cell lines, IGF1R-induced Erk, but not Akt, activation was eliminated by gefitinib. IGF1R-induced gefitinib resistance was unaffected by MAP/Erk kinase inhibition with U0126 but was partially impaired by inhibition of phosphoinositide-3-kinase with LY294002. The IGF1R-TKI PQ401 inhibited growth of SCC-25 and Cal27 cells alone and also acted synergistically with gefitinib. Thus, the IGF1R can make HNSCC cells resistant to EGFR-TKI treatment via a prosurvival mechanism. Of the 8 HNSCC tumor samples studied, all samples expressed the IGF1R and 5 showed detectable IGF1R phosphorylation, suggesting that this receptor may be relevant in vivo, and thus, combined EGFR/IGF1R inhibition may be necessary in some patients for effective targeted molecular therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2124-2134
Number of pages11
JournalMolecular Cancer Therapeutics
Volume10
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2011
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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