BMC cancer

Suppression of Homologous Recombination by insulin-like growth factor-1 inhibition sensitizes cancer cells to PARP inhibitors.

PMID 26510816


Impairment of homologous recombination (HR) is found in close to 50 % of ovarian and breast cancer. Tumors with BRCA1 mutations show increased expression of the Insulin-like growth factor type 1 receptor (IGF-1R). We previously have shown that inhibition of IGF-1R results in growth inhibition and apoptosis of ovarian tumor cells. In the current study, we aimed to investigate the correlation between HR and sensitivity to IGF-1R inhibition. Further, we hypothesized that IGF-1R inhibition might sensitize HR proficient cancers to Poly ADP ribose polymerase (PARP) inhibitors. Using ovarian and breast cancer cellular models with known BRCA1 status, we evaluated their HR functionality by RAD51 foci formation assay. The 50 % lethal concentration (LC50) of Insulin-like growth factor type 1 receptor kinase inhibitor (IGF-1Rki) in these cells was assessed, and western immunoblotting was performed to determine the expression of proteins involved in the IGF-1R pathway. Moreover, IGF-1R inhibitors were added on HR proficient cell lines to assess mRNA and protein expression of RAD51 by qPCR and western blot. Also, we explored the interaction between RAD51 and Insulin receptor substance 1 (IRS-1) by immunoprecipitation. Next, combination effect of IGF-1R and PARP inhibitors was evaluated by clonogenic assay. Cells with mutated/methylated BRCA1 showed an impaired HR function, and had an overactivation of the IGF-1R pathway. These cells were more sensitive to IGF-1R inhibition compared to HR proficient cells. In addition, the IGF-IR inhibitor reduced RAD51 expression at mRNA and protein levels in HR proficient cells, and sensitized these cells to PARP inhibitor. Targeting IGF-1R might lead to improved personalized therapeutic approaches in cancer patients with HR deficiency. Targeting both PARP and IGF-1R might increase the clinical efficacy in HR deficient patients and increase the population of patients who may benefit from PARP inhibitors.