Disruption of IGF-1R Signaling Increases TRAIL-Induced Apoptosis: A New Potential Therapy for the Treatment of Melanoma

Ivanov, Vladimir N.; Hei, Tom K.; Karasic, Thomas B.

Resistance of cancer cells to apoptosis is dependent on a balance of multiple genetic and epigenetic mechanisms, which up-regulate efficacy of the surviving growth factor-receptor signaling pathways and suppress death-receptor signaling pathways. The Insulin-like Growth Factor-1 Receptor (IGF-1R) signaling pathway is highly active in metastatic melanoma cells by mediating downstream activation of PI3K-AKT and MAPK pathways and controlling general cell survival and proliferation. In the present study, we used human melanoma lines with established genotypes that represented different phases of cancer development: radial-growth-phase WM35, vertical-growth-phase WM793, metastatic LU1205 and WM9 [1]. All these lines have normal NRAS. WM35, WM793, LU1205 and WM9 cells have mutated BRAF (V600E). WM35 and WM9 cells express normal PTEN, while in WM793 cells PTEN expression is down-regulated; finally, in LU1205 cells PTEN is inactivated by mutation. Cyclolignan picropodophyllin (PPP), a specific inhibitor of IGF-1R kinase activity, strongly down-regulated the basal levels of AKT activity in WM9 and in WM793 cells, modestly does so in LU1205, but has no effect on AKT activity in the early stage WM35 cells that are deficient in IGF-1R. In addition, PPP partially down-regulated the basal levels of active ERK1/2 in all lines used, highlighting the role of an alternative, non-BRAF pathway in MAPK activation. The final result of PPP treatment was an induction of apoptosis in WM793, WM9 and LU1205 melanoma cells. On the other hand, dose-dependent inhibition of IGF-1R kinase activity by PPP at a relatively narrow dose range (near 500 nM) has different effects on melanoma cells versus normal cells, inducing apoptosis in cancer cells and G2/M arrest of fibroblasts. To further enhance the pro-apoptotic effects of PPP on melanoma cells, we used a combined treatment of TNF-Related Apoptosis-Inducing Ligand (TRAIL) and PPP. This combination substantially increased death by apoptosis for WM793 and WM9 cells, but did so only modestly for LU1205 cells with very high basal activity of AKT. The ultimate goal of this direction of research is the discovery of a new treatment method for highly resistant human metastatic melanomas. Our findings provide the rationale for further preclinical evaluation of this novel treatment.


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Experimental Cell Research

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Academic Units
Center for Radiological Research
Academic Press
Published Here
August 11, 2015