International journal of oncology

Hospicells promote upregulation of the ATP-binding cassette genes by insulin-like growth factor-I via the JAK2/STAT3 signaling pathway in an ovarian cancer cell line.

PMID 23857432


Interaction between tumor cells and their micro-environment has a crucial role in the development, progression and drug resistance of cancer. Our objective was to confirm the role of Hospicells, which are stromal cells from the cancer microenvironment, in drug resistance and tumor cell growth. We demonstrated that soluble factors secreted by Hospicells activate several genes and upregulate the JAK/STAT signaling pathway in ovarian cancer cell lines. Hospicells express all insulin-like growth factor (IGF) family as detected by gene array, RT-PCR, protein array and immunocytochemistry. While focusing attention on the microenvironment, we considered the role of IGF-I in proliferation and survival of ovarian cancer cells. Indeed, IGF-I is a major regulator of different stages of cancer development. We studied the effect of exogenously added IGF-I on the regulation of ATP-binding cassette (ABC) genes (MDR1, MRP1, MRP2, MRP3, MRP5 and BCRP) in the ovarian cancer cell line OVCAR3 and validated the results obtained using the IGF-IR antagonist picropodophyllin. IGF-I regulates the expression of ABC genes in OVCAR3 cells via the PI3-kinase, MEK and JAK2/STAT3 signaling pathways. The OVCAR3 cell line when co-cultured with Hospicells showed a marked degree of drug resistance. The drug resistance observed could be amplified with exogenous IGF-I. Addition of IGF-IR inhibitor, however, reduced the degree of resistance in these exposed cells. Cells that were treated with anticancer drugs and then exposed to IGF-I showed an increase in drug resistance and, thereby, an increase in cell survival. This observation indicates that drug resistance of OVCAR3 cells increases when there is synergy between OVCAR3 cells and Hospicells and it is amplified when IGF-I was exogenously added. In conclusion, inhibition of IGF-IR and targeting of the JAK2/STAT3 signaling pathway can be a target for ovarian cancer therapy.